KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Dániel Sallói continued his campaign for league MVP with a goal and an assist in Sporting Kansas City’s 4-2 home victory over the Houston Dynamo.
A week after winning MLS Player of the Week and being named to the Team of the Week for the seventh time this season, the Hungarian Hitman found the back of the net off a pass from midfielder Gadi Kinda in the first half, and assisted in Kinda’s second half goal to help lead SKC past their conference rivals.
“I love playing with Gadi (Kinda). I think he’s an amazing player. I’m so glad he’s playing on my side. He’s been unbelievable,” Sallói said. “The passes he gives me and the combination we played together, we always find each other in great spots. This is why making runs for Gadi is good because you are already planning your next move. You know he’s the type of player who can put the ball on your feet.”
Forward Johnny Russell got the scoring started in the 16th minute from the penalty spot to tie Kansas City legend Preki with a goal in 5 consecutive games.
“Everyone knows how much a legend Preki is at this club,” Russell said. “To have your name up there with him in any stat is obviously something that you need to be proud of, especially the goals and assists that he got here. It’s a nice little bit of history. The main thing is continuing to help the team win games. As long as I’m doing that, I’m happy.”
Ten minutes later, Sallói scored his 16th goal of the season that ties him for second in the league with Seattle’s Raúl Ruidíaz and one goal behind DC United’s Ola Kamara.
The goal also ties him with the franchise record for non-penalty goals in a season with former SKC forward Dom Dwyer.
“It’s a proud moment but at the same time, it’s one of those that no one is going to care how many penalties you scored if you win the Golden Boot,” Sallói said. “I hope that my goals can take me as far as possible in the Golden Boot race and MVP race. I have a chance for it. I think this is the year when I can challenge for those awards.”
In the 57th minute, the Hungarian national team forward found Kinda for the 3-1 lead moments after Houston had a game-tying goal called back for offsides.
The assist gives Sallói the league lead in goal-plus-assist total at 23.
His MVP-caliber season has gotten little mention on the national scale and manager Peter Vermes blames a bias against the small market team, unless it comes to criticism.
“We don’t spend the kind of money that people do on players in this league so that’s fair. They criticize us like we’re a super club but they don’t give the credit to the players when they play well,” Vermes said. “I’m not here crying about it by any means. At the end of the day, I really don’t care. If Daniel gets the MVP, great. At the end, what we all want is we want to win a trophy.”
Vermes added that the “small-market-treatment” has been around since he played for the Kansas City Wizards almost two decades ago.
Houston pulled another goal back in the 76th minute to bring the contest to 3-2, but the newly extended captain Russell found the back of the net to close the curtains in the 90th minute and complete his brace, bringing his season total to 10.
The win gave SKC the top spot in the Western Conference momentarily as they awaited the result of the Seattle Sounders match against the Colorado Rapids.
Seattle ended up beating Colorado 3-0, pushing them ahead of Sporting with a game in hand.
The two Western Conference favorites will meet again after the international break at Lumen Field on October 23, but first, Sporting will travel to Vancouver on October 17 to take on the Whitecaps.