KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Sporting Kansas City forward Daniel Salloi was a league-wide MVP candidate a season ago, but none of the 16 goals he scored — nor any of his 35 career MLS goals — rates as his career highlight.
Salloi subbed on late in the first half of the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup final against the New York Red Bulls after Latif Blessing picked up a knock.
During the 66th minute, Salloi doubled Sporting KC’s lead off a pass from Benny Feilhaber, scoring what proved to be the game-winning goal in a 2-1 victory to the delight of more than 21,000 fans at Children’s Mercy Park.
“That’s my best moment ever in my career,” Salloi said. “You dream of these situations as a kid to be able to be the one who wins it.”
Salloi has scored five career goals in U.S. Open Cup play, which is one behind Dom Dwyer for the club record, and hopes to add to that tally Wednesday against the Houston Dynamo FC in a Round of 16 showdown.
“We’re going at it 100%,” Salloi said. “We want to win, we want to advance to the next round and take it step by step. It’s a very difficult competition and we’re going to play a very good team, so it’s going to be tough.”
Salloi added Sporting KC’s goal is “to go all the way to the final and to win it.”
“Our focus is the same year after year when we’re in that competition,” Sporting KC Manager and Sporting Director Peter Vermes said. “We’re going to try to do the best that we can, put the best team out on the field to go get a result and move on to the next round. It’s not changing for us.”
Goal or not in Wednesday’s match with Houston, it’ll be hard to top Salloi’s game-winner five years ago with the chance to paint the wall in the northeast corner at Children’s Mercy Park on the line.
“Everything around the game — my family was in town, my parents were there and that was just so special for me,” Salloi said. “That was my first ever trophy. There’s many players who play their whole career without winning trophies. To have a trophy with this club was so special for me, so that’s my favorite moment in my soccer career.”