Forward Daniel Salloi strengthened his MLS MVP bid with two goals to spark Sporting Kansas City’s 3-1 road victory over FC Dallas on Wednesday night at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.
Salloi unfurled a long-range stunner in the early stages and bagged an impressive second in the 61st minute, bookending captain Johnny Russell’s 55th minute penalty kick.
Sporting (14-6-7, 49 points) reclaimed a provisional one-point lead atop the Western Conference standings and became the first team to win twice at FC Dallas (6-13-9, 27 points) in the same season since 2003.
Wednesday’s result saw Sporting improve to a perfect 6-0-0 this year in matches immediately following losses. The win gives manager Peter Vermes’ men momentum heading into a home match on Sunday afternoon against rival Houston Dynamo FC at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas.
Tickets for the 3 p.m. contest, Sporting’s last home game until Oct. 27, are available at SeatGeek.com and fans can catch the action live regionally on Bally Sports Kansas City Plus, Bally Sports Midwest Plus, BallySports.com and the Bally Sports app as well as nationally on UniMas, TUDN and @TUDNUSA on Twitter.
Just 72 hours removed from a 2-1 home loss to Seattle Sounders FC, Sporting rolled out a starting 11 that featured two changes.
Frenchman Remi Walter replaced veteran Roger Espinoza in the center of the park and 20-year-old Cam Duke, customarily deployed as a midfielder, slotted into the right back position as Graham Zusi served a one-game suspension for yellow card accumulation.
Salloi opened the scoring in spectacular fashion with 13 minutes on the clock. Left back Luis Martins advanced down the left touchline, received a pass from Gadi Kinda and fed Salloi, who made the goal from 25 yards. His swerving effort screamed past outstretched Dallas goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer and nestled into the far right corner, putting the visitors ahead 1-0.
The hosts thought they had equalized in the 18th minute when Ricardo Pepi, who like Salloi was named an MLS All-Star this summer as one of the league’s most prolific homegrown players, stroking home from close range following an incisive Dallas attack. The offside flag was raised, however, and Sporting preserved its one-goal advantage.
Russell, making his 100th career start for the club in all competitions, entered the night with four goals in his previous five games and nearly doubled his side’s lead in the 23rd minute.
After drawing a foul just outside the penalty area, the 31-year-old winger uncorked a blistering free kick that was destined for the left corner. Maurer anticipated the shot well and dove at full extension to produce a save that temporarily denied Russell his eighth goal of the year.
Duke showcased his defensive aptitude on the cusp of halftime, retreating pivotally to cut out a low cross from Jader Obrian that almost reached Pepi on the doorstep.
Dallas had managed a single shot attempt in the first half but began brightly after the restart. Hungarian winger Szabolcs Schon went close to making an instant impact from off the bench, running onto Facundo Quignon’s through ball and lashing a shot over the crossbar from the left side of the box in the 49th minute.
The game’s complexion changed drastically a few minutes later. Sporting forward Khiry Shelton shrugged off a pair of defenders, cut past Bressan, galloped into the box and was chopped down from behind by Dallas midfielder Bryan Acosta, who received his marching orders from referee Jair Marrufo.
Russell stepped to the spot and buried the subsequent spot kick, expertly picking out the bottom right corner for his eighth goal of the 2021 campaign and his fourth in as many games.
Sporting went into cruise control by surging ahead 3-0 on the hour mark. After Dallas relinquished possession in its attacking third, Jose Mauri sprung Salloi free with a long ball down the left channel.
The in-form Sporting KC Academy product charged goalward and sent a left-footed missile high into the roof of the net past Maurer for his 15th goal of the year, second most in MLS behind the 17 scored by D.C. United’s Ola Kamara.
Salloi’s 21 total goal contributions are one off the league lead in 2021 and he is one of nine players in Kansas City history to eclipse 20 combined goals and assists in a single regular season.
Maurer was forced into a reflex save in the 65th minute to thwart Kinda on the breakaway and halt the bleeding for Dallas.
At the opposite end, interim head coach Marco Ferruzzi’s men grabbed a goal back through the influential Pepi, who settled a diagonal through ball from Ryan Hollingshead and raced through on the breakaway before poking into the right corner past Melia for the 13th goal of his breakout campaign.
Pepi threatened once more, chasing a long ball over the top and prompting Melia to drop low for a reflex save just before Marrufo blew his full-time whistle.
- Story from Sporting KC