Beyond the Box Score

Beyond the Box Score presented by Compass Minerals: Sensational Salloi saves Sporting a precious point

The 2021 MLS campaign just keeps getting better and better for Daniel Salloi.

The unplayable Sporting Kansas City winger strengthened his MLS MVP bid on Wednesday night at Children’s Mercy Park, bagging a sublime last-gasp equalizer to give his side a 1-1 draw against the Portland Timbers.

Sporting players and fans alike may be left with a twinge of frustration after dropping points at home—and therefore allowing Seattle Sounders FC to take a one-point lead atop the Western Conference—but Manager Peter Vermes’ men nevertheless continue to show a steely resolve in crunch time.

Facing a 1-0 deficit in the 92nd minute, striker Alan Pulido found Salloi in a pocket of space on the left channel. The 25-year-old Sporting KC Academy product carried the ball 20 yards, squared up a pair of Portland defenders and unleashed a quick-trigger shot inside the near post to bring the Children’s Mercy Park faithful to their feet.

In doing so, Salloi became just the third player in Sporting history—joining Eddie Johnson and the legendary Preki—to record 12 goals and six assists for the club in a single regular season.

Sporting KC: 12 goals and six assists in a regular season

  • Preki (1996) | 18 goals, 13 assists
  • Preki (1997) | 12 goals, 17 assists
  • Preki (2003) | 12 goals, 17 assists
  • Eddie Johnson (2007) | 15 goals, 6 assists
  • Daniel Salloi (2021) | 12 goals, 6 assists

Not surprisingly, Salloi’s dozen goals and half-dozen assists stack up rather favorably when compared to the rest of Major League Soccer in 2021. His 18 combined goals and assists are the most in the league, outpacing the likes of Carles Gil and Raul Ruidiaz—two players who have led the MLS MVP conversation over the course of the year.

Most goals and assists in 2021 MLS regular season

  • 18 | Daniel Salloi, SKC (12 goals, 6 assists)
  • 17 | Carles Gil, NE (2 goals, 15 assists)
  • 15 | Raul Ruidiaz, SEA (14 goals, 1 assist)
  • 15 | Gustavo Bou, NE (12 goals, 3 assists)
  • 15 | Nani, ORL (9 goals, 6 assists)
  • 15 | Hany Mukhtar, NSH (8 goals, 7 assists)

Salloi has now scored or assisted in six consecutive MLS appearances dating back to July 21, two shy of tying the club record set by Diego Rubio in 2018.

By finding the back of the net in second-half stoppage time on Wednesday, Salloi also kept alive a longstanding home scoring streak that Sporting began over two years ago. With goals in 25 straight regular season home matches, Vermes’ side owns the longest active home scoring run in MLS by a wide margin.

Longest active home scoring streaks
(MLS regular season)

  • 25 matches | Sporting KC (since Aug. 10, 2019)
  • 18 matches | LAFC (since Sept. 2, 2020)
  • 15 matches | New York City FC (since Sept. 26, 2020)
  • 10 matches | Nashville SC (since May 8, 2021)
  • 8 matches | Orlando City SC (since May 1, 2021)

Now 20 games through the season, Sporting sit a point behind first-place Seattle thanks in large part to their admirable ability to come from behind. Wednesday was no exception, of course, as Portland led for most of the contest after scoring early through Felipe Mora. And although Sporting weren’t firing on all cylinders against the Timbers, their resilience was rewarded in the dying embers once more.

Indeed, it should come as no shock that Sporting leads MLS with 18 points gained from losing positions in 2021. The team boasts a remarkable 5-2-3 record when falling behind this season, a clear illustration of their never-say-die ethos.

Most points gained from losing positions in 2021

  • 18 points | Sporting KC (5 wins, 3 draws)
  • 14 points | Inter Miami CF (4 wins, 2 draws)
  • 12 points | Nashville SC (2 wins, 6 draws)
  • 11 points | Vancouver Whitecaps FC (2 wins, 5 draws)
  • 10 points | Orlando City SC (2 wins, 4 draws)
  • 10 points | New England Revolution (3 wins, 1 draw)

Lastly, we would be remiss not to pay heed to Sporting’s all-time appearances leader. Celebrating his 35th birthday on Wednesday, club legend Graham Zusi logged his 307th regular season appearance in a Kansas City uniform. Among one-club players, no other player has more appearances in MLS history.

Most appearances among one-club players
(MLS regular season, all-time)

  • 307 | Graham Zusi, SKC (2009-present)
  • 306 | Cobi Jones, LA (1996-2007)
  • 296 | C.J. Brown, CHI (1998-2010)
  • 296 | Diego Chara, POR (2011-present)
  • 286 | Logan Pause, CHI (2003-2014)
  • 274 | Roger Espinoza, SKC (2008-2012, 2015-present)

Sporting now faces a quick recovery ahead of a crucial Rivalry Week showdown at Minnesota United FC (7-6-6, 27 points) on Saturday afternoon. The club’s seventh match in 22 days will kick off at 2:30 p.m. CT with national coverage on ESPN, the ESPN app and ESPN Deportes as well as local radio calls on Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Grande 1340 AM.