Daniel Salloi made his Sporting Kansas City debut in 2017. After coming through the Academy and a season long loan back to Hungary, he broke through with 12 starts and 1,100 minutes. That season saw him bag 3 goals and an assist. At 20 years old, he showed flashes of true talent.
2018 was the breakout year for Salloi. He won Sporting KC’s Golden Boot with 11 goals and seven assists in the regular season and helped lead Sporting to the Western Conference finals. That season, Salloi’s non-PK G+A per 90 was .71. He overperformed xG and xA which had him at .48 xG+xA per 90.
2019 was a regression for Daniel and he recently told us that he doesn’t want to talk about 2019 and 2020 anymore. The underlying numbers stayed similar: .44 xG+xA per 90. Perhaps as karma for his no-look goal in the playoffs, Salloi only scored one goal and one assist in 1,500 minutes for a .12 G+A per 90.
2020 only got Salloi on the field seven times with one start. Zero goals or assists. However, the xG+xA again stayed consistent even in his limited minutes. .49 non-penalty xG+xA per 90.
This year, DS20 aka the Hungarian Assassin, has been a revelation and is one of the key reasons that Sporting is fighting for the Supporters Shield. In 13 matches played with 11 starts and a total of 1,060 minutes, Daniel has seven goals and three assists. His per 90 non-PK G+A is .85. Simply put, he’s contributing just under one goal or assist per game. The underlying numbers show a true return to form. Per 90, he’s at .66 xG+xA. According to WhoScored.com, Salloi is averaging a rating of 7.19 and has won three MotM awards. For context, the 7.19 rating has him 24th in the league. Carles Gil (MVP contender) is averaging a rating of 8.0 and is in first. Chicharito (another MVP contender) is averaging a rating of 7.4 and is in 6th. Gianluca Busio is 10th at 7.34. Salloi is tied for 4th in MotM awards.
Daniel has never relied on overwhelming speed or strength as part of his game. What he does have, is exceptional technique. As Salloi told us in an interview after scorching Brad Guzan in 2018, he knows how to hit a curler. With space created by Alan Pulido, Johnny Russell, Gadi Kinda, and Gianluca Busio, Salloi has found space to get in behind and finish with true class. Just go back and watch that game winner against LAFC. Chef’s kiss. Absolute brilliance.
Salloi, if he can keep it up, might be working himself back into that category of homegrown who is going to fetch a nice transfer fee. Not bad for a kid that people were writing off after a rough couple of years. Vermes never gave up on him and neither did I. Listen to the pod. I've got the receipts. MLS Cup 2021 starting XI. A really great resurgence for our Hungarian Homegrown. Back at it again with the white Vans.
P.S. - Put me on the pod again*
*Willing to start my own spinoff pod with Chad or anyone else with the good banter.
[Editor: This story was originally published July 7th but has been updated to be featured on the home page of The Blue Testament.]