Sporting KC striker Alan Pulido named 2023 MLS Comeback Player of the Year

Sporting Kansas City striker Alan Pulido has been voted the 2023 MLS Comeback Player of the Year, Major League Soccer announced today.

Pulido has enjoyed a sensational 2023 campaign after missing the entire 2022 season following knee surgery. The Mexican forward made his return following 16 months out on April 1, 2023 and claimed the club’s Golden Boot and Most Valuable Player awards with 15 goals and six assists in all competitions to date this season, including three assists in Sporting's upset of No. 1 seed St. Louis CITY SC in the Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs.

Pulido, who recently extended his contract with the club through 2026, first joined Sporting in 2020 and was named a MLS Newcomer of the Year finalist while winning the club’s Golden Boot and Offensive Player of the Year award in his first season. From 2020 to 2023, the World Cup veteran has tallied 30 goals and 14 assists in 69 matches across all competitions and has climbed to the top of the club's all-time regular season goals per game chart.

SKC All-Time Goals Per Game
(min. 20 regular season games)

  1. Alan Pulido 0.46 (28 goals in 61 games)
  2. Dom Dwyer 0.45 (57 goals in 128 games)
  3. Willy Agada 0.42 (11 goals in 26 games)

Pulido has reached new heights in 2023 and the 32-year-old striker has done so after overcoming one of the lowest moments of his career in 2022. After undergoing knee surgery on Jan. 17, 2022, Pulido would be sidelined for the next 14 months while enduring an extensive rehabilitation before making his long-awaited return to the field on April 1, 2023 as a second-half substitute,

In June, Pulido was named MLS Player of the Month with a club-record six goals en route to becoming the second player in Sporting history to score 12 goals in a span of 12 consecutive regular season matches from June 3 to Sept. 9. In doing so, Pulido is now the first player in MLS history to score 10 or more regular season goals after missing the entirety of his team's previous season due to injury.

The MLS Comeback Player of the Year is awarded annually based on a vote of MLS club technical staffs, media and current MLS players.

Voting Results
Alan Pulido (SKC)
Miles Robinson (ATL)
Joao Paulo (SEA)

Sporting Kansas City players have won MLS Comeback Player of the Year honors on six occasions since the award was established in 2000 as Pulido joins Tony Meola (2000), Chris Klein (2002, 2005), Eddie Johnson (2007) and Tim Melia (2015) on the list of all-time award recipients.

MLS Comeback Player of the Year Winners
2023: Alan Pulido - Sporting Kansas City
2022: Gonzalo Higuain - Inter Miami CF
2021: Carles Gil - New England Revolution
2020: Bradley Wright-Phillips - LAFC
2019: Jordan Morris - Seattle Sounders FC
2018: Gyasi Zardes - Columbus Crew
2017: Clint Dempsey - Seattle Sounders FC
2016: Chris Pontius - Philadelphia Union
2015: Tim Melia - Sporting Kansas City
2014: Rodney Wallace - Portland Timbers
2013: Kevin Alston - New England Revolution
2012: Eddie Johnson - Seattle Sounders FC
2011: David Beckham - LA Galaxy
2010: Bobby Convey - San Jose Earthquakes
2009: Zach Thornton - Chivas USA
2008: Kenny Cooper - FC Dallas
2007: Eddie Johnson - Kansas City Wizards
2006: Richard Mulrooney - FC Dallas
2005: Chris Klein - Kansas City Wizards
2004: Brian Ching - San Jose Earthquakes
2003: Chris Armas - Chicago Fire
2002: Chris Klein - Kansas City Wizards
2001: Troy Dayak - San Jose Earthquakes
2000: Tony Meola - Kansas City Wizards