KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Sporting Kansas City’s comeback season just got sweeter on Wednesday.
Forward Alan Pulido has been named the MLS Comeback Player of the Year.
He entered the 2023 season coming off a season-ending knee injury that kept him out of the entire 2022 schedule.
Pulido played his first game in April, about 16 months after his previous appearance.
Less than a month after that the 32-year-old Mexican found his first goal of the season against Tulsa Athletic. Interestingly enough, that was also SKC’s first win of the year, coming two months after the 2023 MLS season kicked off.
In the MLS Cup playoffs he’s already matched his regular season total with three postseason assists so far.
Pulido signed with Sporting Kansas City in 2020 when the club offered a record $9.5 million contract to acquire him from Chivas of Liga MX.
In 61 total matches in KC, Pulida started 52 times, scored 28 goals and delivered 11 assists.
His return from injury has been a key to Sportings’ success this season with his MLS career-high 14 goals.
Pulido will look to continue his excellence later this month when SKC takes on the Houston Dynamo in the MLS Western Conference Semi-Finals.
It took the Dynamo three games until they finally took care of Real Salt Lake in penalty shootouts.
Sporting however is coming off a clean sweep over the top-seeded St. Louis City SC to get to the club’s fourth conference semifinal appearance since 2018, which is tied for the most over the last six MLS seasons.
This is all made to look even more impressive considering the depths this soccer team was at in 2023. They began the year 0-3-6 before finally getting a 3-0 win over Tulsa, in part thanks to Pulido’s efforts.
The KC club went on to clinch an 8-seed with a 12-14-8 record before beating San Jose in the Wildcard to solidify their place in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
Now they have a shot to get back to their first MLS title game since 2013.