May 5, 2018; Kansas City, KS, USA; Colorado Rapids midfielder Enzo Martinez (90) looks to pass the ball during the second half of the match against Sporting Kansas City at Children's Mercy Park. Sporting won 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Sporting Kansas City fired 24 total shots at Colorado Saturday night, but only needed one. Daniel Salloi’s first goal of the season gave SKC a 1-0 win at home and three more points, maintaining first place in the Western Conference standings. Here are three things we learned from Saturday’s match:
Salloi: right place, right time
It wasn’t necessarily Salloi’s creativity that got him his first goal, he just happened to be in the right place. Taking the rebound of Khiry Shelton’s header into the post, Salloi played clean-up duty to get in the 2018 scoring column.
“I had an easy job,” Salloi said, giving credit to Matt Besler, Ike Opara and Shelton for setting up the chance.
But Salloi has been in the right place at the right time throughout the season. He’s also getting better and better at creating his own chances – eight total Saturday.
“I was really hoping to get one today because I was still pissed after the Vancouver 6-0 (win) that I couldn’t score any goals in that game,” he said. “I just really needed one, so I was happy I got it. But also, I had other chances and I’ve got to work on those finishes.”
Shelton shouldn’t play lottery
The forward hasn’t had an excessively lucky beginning to the season. Off 15 attempts this year, including five on target, Shelton still hasn’t notched a goal. The New York City FC transplant who arrived in Kansas City in the offseason has struggled to find his flow, and it was perhaps most obvious Saturday. He launched six shots, missing the frame by inches on a couple. The zero holds steady in his goals column.
With this offense, there’s no playing it safe
Holding onto a 1-0 lead over Colorado throughout the second half, Sporting KC could have held back. A conservative approach would have made sense, with preventing Colorado from scoring an equalizer the main focus. But for an SKC offense drastically improvement from last year, slowing down was not in the plan. Shots continued to rain down on Colorado’s back line deep into the second half. None of the other 23 SKC shots found the back of the net, but the focus was clear: continue to push offensively.