It won’t all be holiday bells ringing in Daniel Salloi’s ears this MLS offseason. When you are 22-years-old, of Hungarian descent with a long family lineage of soccer success, have broken into your national team’s senior team and led your club side in goals, scouts across the globe take notice. Daniel Salloi’s phone (or agent’s phone) likely will be, and has been, ringing consistently.
And the rumors have already begun. In November, UK’s The Sun put it out that Salloi was looking to play in the English Football League Championship.
The sometimes spectacular Salloi was Sporting Kansas City’s regular season Golden Boot winner (11 goals, 7 assists in 2211 minutes) and playoff leading goal producer scoring three goals in four matches. Salloi could be found finishing shots with curlers from difficult angles and with quick foot work in tight spaces while putting himself in advantageous spots with his anticipation and vision.
Though his game remains incomplete, a move to what may be a league with a higher overall skill level could be just what the amiable and likable youth may need.
Yet, Thursday night in the aftermath of Sporting Kansas City’s 3-2 aggregate goal loss in the Western Conference Final series, Salloi set his future clear. When asked if he had interest in any offerings from abroad, he said, “No. I’m happy here. I’m looking to stay here.”
Salloi had given Kansas City the lead in the 20th minute of the decisive 2nd leg at home. However, on a slide tackle late in the half, he caught his right ankle and limped off the field at halftime. He returned in the 2nd half, but the ankle didn’t respond well, and he asked to be subbed.
Though difficult to do in the moment, Salloi was able to look back on the season in a positive light. “Not just for me, but for team, it was a successful year. I’m very happy the way the whole season went down. We deserved to be here in the conference final. If we were a little but luckier, we would be deserving to be in MLS Cup too,” he said. “But were not going to get worse, we are only going to get better for next year, and hopefully we can win the Cup next year.”
Salloi’s progress has been sure and steady at all levels from his time at age 15 at Ujpest FC in Budapest to the Sporting KC Academy as a homegrown Sporting player, from his time at age 20 with the Swope Park Rangers to Sporting Kansas City, from the Hungarian Youth National Teams to the senior team. At each stop along the way, the now 22-year-old has scored goals.
The next sign of the winger’s progress will likely come in his salary at Kansas City. During this current season, Salloi pulled in $81,625, a sum slightly less than 16-year-old Gianluca Busio and significantly below lesser performers and fellow front-liners like Khiry Shelton ($119,745) and Gerso Fernandes ($591,258). Expect a significant raise for Salloi in the offseason as yesterday, Sporting cleared more than 619,000 in salary with the release of five players.