Sporting KC forward Daniel Salloi named a finalist for MLS Most Valuable Player and Comeback Player of the Year

Sporting Kansas City forward Daniel Salloi is a finalist for the 2021 Landon Donovan MLS Most Valuable Player award and the MLS Comeback Player of the Year, Major League Soccer announced today.

Salloi was named a finalist for both accolades after earning votes among three groups: current MLS players, MLS club technical staffs and select media members. End-of-year MLS award winners will be announced over the next three weeks.

A product of the Sporting Kansas City Academy, Salloi is in contention to become just the third player in club history to receive Landon Donovan MLS MVP honors after Preki won the award twice (1997, 2003) and Tony Meola took the award in 2000. Salloi is one of five Sporting players to be tabbed an MLS MVP finalist alongside Preki (1996, 1997, 2003), Meola (2000), Graham Zusi (2012) and Benny Feilhaber (2015).

2021 Landon Donovan MLS MVP Finalists

  • Daniel Salloi (Sporting Kansas City)
  • Valentin Castellanos (New York City FC)
  • Carles Gil (New England Revolution)
  • Hany Mukhtar (Nashville SC)
  • Joao Paulo (Seattle Sounders FC)

2021 MLS Comeback Player of the Year Finalists

  • Daniel Salloi (Sporting Kansas City)
  • Carles Gil (New England Revolution)
  • Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernández (LA Galaxy)

Salloi, who on Saturday was named the 2021 Sporting KC Most Valuable Player presented by Audi, tallied MLS career-highs with 16 goals and eight assists. His 24 combined goals and assists were tied for fourth in MLS and the fifth-most in a single regular season in club history. His 16 non-penalty goals were tied for the league lead, the most all-time by a Sporting player and equaled the MLS record for a Homegrown Player.

Daniel Salloi celebration - Soprting KC vs. Portland Timbers - Aug. 18, 2021

An eight-time MLS Team of the Week selection this season, Salloi took home MLS Player of the Week honors on Sept. 30, a day after scoring twice to spark a 3-1 road victory over FC Dallas. With starts in 26 of 30 appearances over the course of 2021, he scored or assisted in 15 of 22 matches during a torrid spell from May 16 to Oct. 17.

Salloi delivered in clutch moments throughout the year, ranking fifth in MLS with five game-winning goals and scoring late equalizers against Austin FC on June 12, the San Jose Earthquakes on July 21 and the Portland Timbers on Aug. 18. His five match-winners were one shy of equaling the club record.

Sporting went 11-0-3 in the 14 matches that Salloi scored this season, with the 25-year-old helping lead the club within three points of first place in the Western Conference. Manager Peter Vermes’ side ranked second in MLS with 58 goals and posted 17 wins, one shy of tying the club record for a 34-game regular season.

Salloi is also one of three finalists for MLS Comeback Player of the Year, awarded to a player who has overcome injuries or adversity in order to achieve success during the 2021 regular season. After logging just 165 minutes in 2020 and scoring once across the previous two seasons, Salloi erupted for the sixth-largest year-over-year goal increase in MLS history.

The following players have won MLS Comeback Player of the Year as members of Sporting: Meola (2000), Chris Klein (2002, 2005), Eddie Johnson (2007) and Tim Melia (2015).

Salloi and Sporting will begin their journey in the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs on Saturday, hosting Vancouver Whitecaps FC in Round One at Children’s Mercy Park. Tickets are available at SeatGeek.com and kickoff is slated for 4 p.m. CT with live coverage on Bally Sports Kansas City, Bally Sports Midwest Plus, the Bally Sports app, UniMas, TUDN, MLSsoccer.com and the MLS app.