Two Sporting Kansas City players will conclude their national team stints this week as Gadi Kinda and Daniel Salloi prepare for 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches with Israel and Hungary, respectively.
Kinda has been an unused substitute in a pair of convincing Israel wins this week, while Salloi has come off the bench as a second-half substitute for Hungary in defeats to England and Albania.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, the duo will aim to help their home countries secure vital wins as the September FIFA window draws to a close.
Israel at Denmark
2022 World Cup Qualifying | UEFA Group F
Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021 | 1:45 p.m. CT
Parken Stadium | Copenhagen, Denmark
Streaming on ESPN Plus
Israel has jumped to second place in Group F after hammering the Faroe Islands and Austria in quick succession, bundling home nine goals in the process with red-hot striker Eran Zahavi scoring five times across the two games. Kinda has yet to feature for the Israelis during this window, but an opportunity could arise Tuesday when head coach Willibald Ruttensteiner's men visit group leaders Denmark in their biggest test of the year.
Denmark reached the semifinals of the UEFA European Championship earlier this summer, falling to England in a controversial clash at Wembley Stadium, and boasts a perfect 5-0-0 record in World Cup qualifying with 17 goals scored and none conceded. The Danes have defeated Scotland and Faroe Islands during the September window and wield a formidable roster that includes Leicester City goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel, AC Milan center back Simon Kjaer, Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen, Sevilla ace Thomas Delaney and Leipzig forward Yussuf Poulsen.
The top team in Group F will advance to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, while the second-place finisher will advance to a playoff round of qualifying next March. Israel are seeking their first World Cup appearance since 1970.
Born in Ethiopia and raised in Israel, Kinda has already made a strong impression with his national team this year, scoring a sensational goal on his debut to spark a 3-1 win at Montenegro on June 5. He landed his first start for the Israelis four days later in a friendly defeat to European powerhouse Portugal.
Kinda has recorded 10 goals and seven assists in 38 appearances for Sporting since joining the club ahead of the 2020 campaign. He has started 15 of 17 MLS matches this season, tallying four goals and three assists for a Sporting Kansas City side that sits in third place in the Western Conference with an 11-5-7 record. Sporting are a perfect 7-0-0 when Kinda scores or assists this year.
Hungary vs. Andorra
2022 World Cup Qualifying | UEFA Group I
Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2021 | 1:45 p.m. CT
Puskas Arena | Budapest, Hungary
Streaming on ESPN Plus
Salloi earned his second cap for Hungary on Sunday, coming off the bench in the 67th minute of a late 1-0 road loss to Albania in 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying. He entered with the game scoreless, replacing teammate and Philadelphia Union midfielder Daniel Gazdag, before Albania salvaged an 87th-minute winner through Armando Broja at Elbasan Arena in Elbasan, Albania.
The frustrating result drops Hungary, seeking their first World Cup appearance since 1986, to fourth place in UEFA Group I with five World Cup qualifiers remaining on the road to Qatar. The top team in Group I will secure an automatic berth in the 2022 FIFA World Cup, while the second place side will advance to a playoff round of qualifying next March.
Salloi and Hungary will have an opportunity to respond quickly when they host Andorra at 1:45 p.m. CT on Wednesday at Puskas Arena in the Hungarian capital of Budapest. It is the same site where Salloi made his international debut in a 4-0 loss to England on Thursday.
Salloi has enjoyed a brilliant 2021 MLS campaign as one of the league's most prolific attackers. He leads the league with 18 combined goals (12) and assists (six) and became the first Sporting KC Academy product to land MLS All-Star accolades when he featured in the MLS All-Star Game on Aug. 25 at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles.