Sporting Kansas City forward Daniel Salloi and midfielder Gadi Kinda both saw action for their respective national teams on Saturday as World Cup qualifying continued in the UEFA region.
Salloi earned his first career start for Hungary in a narrow 1-0 home loss to Albania, exiting in the 59th minute with the score still tied at 0-0. Armando Broja scored the all-important winner for Albania in the 79th minute of a fiercely competitive match at Puskas Arena in Budapest, dealing a significant blow to Hungary's hopes of reaching the World Cup for the first time since 1986.
The defeat drops Hungary to fourth place in Group I with three qualifying matches still to play between now and mid-November. The first-place finisher will punch their ticket to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, while the group runners-up will advance to a World Cup playoff contested among other second-place finishers in the UEFA region next March.
Salloi now has four career caps for the Magyars, all of which coming over the last five weeks after the winger made three substitute appearances in early September. He will be in contention for a fifth cap on Tuesday when Hungary travels to iconic Wembley Stadium for a meeting with Group I leaders England. The contest will kick off at 1:45 pm. CT with live coverage on ESPN Plus.
Like Salloi, Kinda landed his fourth career cap in a losing effort as Israel suffered a 3-2 heartbreaker at the hands of Scotland at Hampden Park in Glasgow. The Sporting midfielder entered the game with 74 minutes on the clock and the score tied at 2-2. Israel twice took the lead in the first half through Eran Zahavi and Munas Dabbur, only for Scotland to conjure quick responses courtesy of John McGinn and Lyndon Dykes. With the game destined for a stalemate, Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay bagged a dramatic 94th-minute winner for the hosts, condemning Kinda and Israel to a heartbreaking defeat.
Saturday's result sees Israel remain in third place, four points behind Scotland and 11 behind runaway leaders Denmark. Seeking their first World Cup appearance since 1970, the Israelis have three matches remaining in their qualifying campaign and must finish second in order to reach UEFA's World Cup playoffs in March 2022.
Kinda and Israel return home on Tuesday to host Group F minnows Moldova in a 1:45 p.m. CT kickoff at Turner Stadium in Be'er Sheva. The match will stream live on ESPN Plus.
Following their national team matches on Tuesday, Salloi and Kinda are slated to rejoin Sporting for next Sunday's pivotal showdown with Vancouver Whitecaps FC. Kickoff at BC Place is slated for 9 p.m. CT and the game will be shown live on Bally Sports Kansas City. Manager Peter Vermes' men occupy second place in the Western Conference, two points behind leaders Seattle Sounders FC with six regular season fixtures still to play.