Sporting Kansas City forward Daniel Salloi has opened up about a difficult 2020/2021 offseason that enabled him to reach his best form. The player recently provided insight after another game winning performance for the second consecutive match.
During Saturday’s 2-1 victory over LAFC, Salloi played an integral role in Sporting Kansas City’s last-minute comeback to win another three points and remain second in Major League Soccer’s Western Conference. The player curled home the game-winning shot in the 87th minute after a phenomenal assist by teammate Felope Hernandez. Salloi was also involved in the team’s first goal after sending in the cross to Alan Pulido before he scored the equalizer in the 61st minute.
The homegrown player has recorded seven goals and three assists in 12 appearances, trailing slightly behind Chicharito Hernandez in the race for the Golden Boot. In only the first couple of months of the season, Salloi has already broken his 2019 and 2020 records.
Last season, Salloi managed one goal and one assist in 35 matches, recording only six shots across 165 minutes on the pitch. After Saturday’s match, the player gave insight to the major changes he made.
“Back home, it was a difficult time because obviously COVID, we were still in a lockdown, you couldn't really do anything,” Salloi said. “I went home and spent time with my family at home and went to work out. Those were the two things you could do.
“I worked with Shane Tusup, he's an Olympic trainer as well and he helped me a lot with [my] mentality and the trainings he did as well. He taught me a lot of things, but I think it's adopting to my game and I want to give him credit because it changed me a lot. I think my teammates saw it, too. I feel it, too, and I'm glad I worked with him. When I go home again, I'll do it again in the offseason.”
After scoring two goals and recording one assist last weekend, the player was placed on Major League Soccer’s Week 9 Team of the Week. As a result of his growing talent, MLS players are taking notice. Sporting Kansas City right-back Graham Zusi commented on his teammate’s increasing influence calling him a 'different person'.
“I think it starts with his mentality and how he came in this preseason,” veteran right-back Graham Zusi said. “He just seemed like a different person. Everything about his game has been lightyears ahead of I think where he was last year, and that starts with his mentality. He came in, he worked extremely hard, he pushed himself, both sides of the ball he's been very good for us.
“Every single time he gets the ball, he seems like he's dangerous and he's putting himself in really good spots in and around the goal. And then most importantly, he's putting it in the back of the net as well. I love what I'm seeing from Daniel and I don't see that stopping any time soon this year.”