In a remarkable 4-1 dismantling of LAFC on Wednesday night, two Sporting Kansas City stars rose to the top.
Red-hot forward Daniel Salloi and in-form defender Graham Zusi were named to the MLS Team of the Week presented by Audi today for their game-changing contributions in an emphatic victory that saw Sporting vault to the top of the Western Conference.
Salloi continued his storybook 2021 season with a phenomenal strike and a clever assist on Luis Martins' first career MLS goal. Zusi notched a pair of assists, setting up Salloi and later delivering a delectable cross for Gadi Kinda to head home.
Team of the Week (3-4-3, left to right): Gabriel Slonina (CHI) – Kieran Gibbs (MIA), Andrew Farrell (NE), Graham Zusi (SKC) – Efrain Alvarez (LA), Tomas Pochettino (ATX), Daniel Gazdag (PHI), Marcelino Moreno (ATL) – Daniel Salloi (SKC), Sergio Santos (PHI), Yordy Reyna (DC)
Coach: Hernan Losada (DC)
Bench: Jimmy Maurer (DAL), Jakob Glesnes (PHI), Joao Paulo (SEA), Nani (ORL), Franco Jara (DAL), Felipe Mora (POR), Ola Kamara (DC)
Salloi, a freshly minted MLS All-Star, has enjoyed the greatest season of his young career, blossoming into one of the league’s most prolific attacking players. Look no further than the fact that Salloi stands alone at the top of the MLS charts in combined goals (10) and primary assists (five).
Most combined goals and primary assists in 2021 MLS regular season
- 15: Daniel Salloi, SKC (10 goals, 5 assists)
- 14: Nani, ORL (8 goals, 6 assists)
- 13: Carles Gil, NE (2 goals, 11 assists)
- 12: Gustavo Bou, NE (10 goals, 2 assists)
- 11: four players tied
Salloi hit the 10-goal marker on Wednesday in Sporting’s 17th match of the regular season. That’s the fourth quickest run to 10 regular season goals in club history after Dom Dwyer (12 games in 2014), Preki (15 in 1996) and Eddie Johnson (16 in 2007).
With his contribution to the victory, Sporting KC Academy products have now scored or assisted in a remarkable 12 straight MLS matches dating back to May 16. Sporting’s rich crop of Homegrowns have accounted for 16 of 33 goals and 11 of 29 assists for the highest-scoring attack in MLS this season.
Sporting KC: Quickest to 10 goals in an MLS regular season
- 12 matches: Dom Dwyer (2014)
- 15 matches: Preki (1996)
- 16 matches: Eddie Johnson (2007)
- 17 matches: Daniel Salloi (2021)
- 21 matches: Preki (2003)
While Salloi was among the headline grabbers, another defining storyline to emerge from the midweek matchup was Zusi shredding LAFC down the right flank. By assisting two goals, he became the third active MLS player with 70 career assists in the regular season alongside Sacha Kljestan (97) and Diego Valeri (91).
Wednesday was also the fourth time since the dawn of the Opta era in 2010 that a Sporting defender recorded two primary assists in a regular season match. Zusi has done the deed three times since 2017, while Michael Harrington was the first to accomplish the feat in September 2010. Incredibly enough, the 34-year-old has tallied assists in three consecutive regular season games for the first time since August 2012.
Two primary assists by a Sporting KC defender
(MLS regular season, 2010-present)
- Graham Zusi: Aug. 4, 2021 (W 4-1 at LAFC)
- Graham Zusi: July 14, 2018 (L 2-3 at RBNY)
- Graham Zusi: Aug. 19, 2017 (W 2-0 vs. DAL)
- Michael Harrington: Sept. 22, 2010 (W 3-0 vs. HOU)
Sporting (10-4-3, 33 points) will look to continue their winning ways Saturday when they visit the fourth-place Colorado Rapids (8-4-3, 27 points) in a compelling Western Conference clash at 8 p.m. CT. Supporters can catch the action live on Bally Sports Kansas City Plus, Bally Sports Midwest Plus, BallySports.com and the Bally Sports app as well as Sports Radio 810 WHB and La Grande 1340 AM.