Charlie Davies: If Alan Pulido is healthy, SKC has shot at MLS Cup

Alan Pulido celebration - Sporting KC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC - May 16, 2021

Sporting Kansas City have more than staked their claim as a Western Conference frontrunner in 2021, but just how far can Peter Vermes' group go when it's all said and done?

Health permitting, all the way to MLS Cup, co-host Charlie Davies voiced in Extratime's latest episode when discussing SKC's upcoming Heineken Rivalry Week matchup with Minnesota United FC this Saturday (3:30 pm ET | ESPN, ESPN Deportes). Peter Vermes' team is currently second in the Western Conference standings with 38 points, just one off the pace of the Seattle Sounders through 20 games.

"As long as Alan Pulido is healthy, this team has a shot," Davies said. "Because Daniel Salloi right now is playing the best of his young career, Johnny Russell and Alan Pulido, those three are dynamic, interchangeable, they can cause so many problems. They combine well, the movement off the ball I think has been strong. So, they're a team that I think has a really good shot in the Western Conference."

Saturday's matchup at Allianz Field pits Sporting against an opponent that's surged back after four straight losses to start the year. Adrian Heath's group finds themselves occupying the No. 6 spot in the West and looking to make up ground in the postseason race.

They're coming off a 1-1 draw at San Jose midweek, while SKC drew 1-1 against Portland thanks to Salloi's stoppage-time equalizer.

"Minnesota, on the flip side, trying to find a way to rotate pieces, trying to get [Jan] Gregus back into this team – has not worked so well for him," co-host David Gass said. "But Wil Trapp gets the goal in this one [against San Jose], [Hassani] Dotson gets the start out wide, so a few moving pieces right now for Adrian Heath's side.

"But I think a lot of promise, a lot of excitement around this Minnesota United team."

For more from Extratime on Heineken Rivalry Week and all things MLS, check out the full episode here.