Sporting KC striker Alan Pulido: Missing the 2020 playoffs has given me motivation and drive for 2021

On the fourth day of voluntary preseason training at Compass Minerals National Performance Center, Sporting Kansas City striker Alan Pulido spoke to this afternoon to discuss the upcoming MLS season and his goals for the 2021 campaign. Select remarks are below, translated into English from an interpreter.


On overcoming the challenges of an unconventional 2020 season…

I am very happy to be playing again for the team. It’s been a year of learning and it’s been a bit complicated by the coronavirus. It’s been difficult and weird overall, but I think my goals have been hit and I have made several goals throughout all of these difficulties. Hopefully with the new year we can be No. 1.

In general, this has been a very difficult time that we have been going through. I have lost family and even friends from the coronavirus. It’s a challenge every day and it’s difficult, but we have to maintain our health and a positive mindset to make sure that we keep moving forward.

On his debut MLS season with Sporting in 2020…

Last season went well even though we lost in the conference semifinals. Overall, it was a very good year and we had to adjust this past year with the difficulties of everything happening. I also was injured and I missed the playoffs, and it was very hard to miss that. Hopefully this upcoming season I will be able to maintain my health, compete in the playoffs and reach the goals I have set.

On what he has learned over the last 12 months…

Everything is a learning experience—trying to take all of these difficult times and personal problems and making the best of it. I have given a lot of time day to day to make sure that I continue with a strong mentality both on and off the field. These are hard times but I do believe in God and that nothing will last forever. As long as we maintain a strong, optimistic mentality, I’m happy and hoping it will be a good year overall.

On how MLS compares to Liga MX and the continuation of MLS teams facing Liga MX teams in 2021…

Both leagues have a lot of talent and both leagues play at a high, competitive level. They are big games overall. I think that both of these leagues help (contribute to) the growth of each player, making them better and more competitive every day.

On his objectives in 2021 and the prospect of representing Mexico at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar…

We must remain strong and competitive and have a good mentality moving forward. We need to make sure that we prepare every day and our objective will remain to try to make it to the playoffs and become No. 1.

It is an important year overall, and hopefully we will make it to Qatar. It is a goal of mine to make it there and hopefully with this season I’ll gain the confidence and right mentality to make it there.

This season overall for MLS will be a very important one. Hopefully I will be able to continue representing Mexico and Sporting KC and be called up to the national team. I have been in contact with the national team and I hope that I will be able to continue setting my goals and reaching them.

I have always wanted to better myself and not stay stagnant. I hope to play as many games this season as possible and hopefully grow with my team to become No. 1. Qatar is also a very important goal of mine and I believe there will be opportunities with the national team if we stay strong. I do think that remaining strong with Sporting also adds to having more opportunities with the national team, as well.

On the growth of MLS as a high-performance soccer league…

Being here and playing in this league, I have seen a lot of competition. It has been very impressive for me to see how this league competes. The Mexican league that I used to play for is a very good league and I hope to continue playing well in MLS.

On missing the 2020 playoffs due to injury…

Last season did not finish the way that I wanted and it made me sad. However, I am recovered now and I am optimistic for this upcoming season. I want to play the best that I can and I hope to continue to reach the goals that I have set for myself.

On the long-term injury suffered by fellow Mexican striker Raul Jimenez in the English Premier League and how it might affect Pulido’s opportunities with the national team…

It is sad what has happened to Raul, and I hope for a healthy and good recovery. It is a bummer seeing a friend and fellow patriot go through that. However, I am motivated to play with and against other players of this caliber and make it to Qatar hopefully. I am optimistic that it will be a good year to better myself and the team.

On the departures of former Sporting teammates Gerso Fernandes and Erik Hurtado…

Sadly, that’s how soccer is. Some people will get hurt. Great players will also leave once in a while, but all you can do is wish them the best. They are great teammates, and they will be missed very greatly. However, younger and talented players have been recruited recently here at Sporting KC, and I am happy they will have a chance to shine on the field and make us better players as well.

On missing Sporting’s exciting playoff win over San Jose last November…

It was a huge bummer not being able to be there. However, I have always shown my support when I can. Obviously I was nervous watching this game because it was a very close and tight game that went to penalties. Honestly, it made me a bit more nervous watching than actually playing, but it did give me the motivation and the drive for this upcoming season.

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