Sporting KC forward Alan Pulido returns to training ahead of MLS Cup playoffs

Sporting KC

Sporting Kansas City forward Alan Pulido (9) celebrates after scoring a goal during the first half of an MLS soccer match against the Vancouver Whitecaps Sunday, May 16, 2021, in Kansas City, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — With an international break between the end of the regular season and the 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs, No. 3 Sporting Kansas City hit the practice field preparing to host the No. 6 Vancouver Whitecaps in the first round.

As the team works to rest up and get back to full health, a friendly familiar face made his back into the training sessions.

Mexican striker Alan Pulido returned to practice after undergoing knee surgery at the start of October that saw him miss the end of the regular season.

Pulido scored 8 goals and 3 assists in 21 matches, 15 as a starter.

He missed the entirety of the 2020 playoffs with an injury, and Sporting Kansas City will hope to have the forward leading the attack with Johnny Russell and Dániel Sallói on either side of him.

Pulido spent time over the summer with the Mexican men’s national team for the Gold Cup, Nations League and international friendlies.

In his absence, Khiry Shelton has been named to a majority of the starts at the striker position, and Russell and Sallói shared the scoring responsibilities.

The last time Sporting’s trio of attackers started a game together was on Sept. 11 at home against the Chicago Fire.

Sporting KC hosts Vancouver on Nov. 20 at 4 p.m. at Children’s Mercy Park. The winner will face the winner between No. 2 Seattle Sounder and No. 7 Real Salt Lake.

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