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


Sporting Kansas City striker Alan Pulido is one of three finalists for the 2023 MLS Comeback Player of the Year award, Major League Soccer announced today.

Pulido is up for the annual honor -- voted on by players, coaches, technical directors and media -- alongside Atlanta United FC defender Miles Robinson and Seattle Sounders FC midfielder Joao Paulo.

Pulido enjoyed a sensational 2023 campaign after missing the entire 2022 season following knee surgery. Pulido 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 three assists in all competitions this season as the team’s joint leader in total goal contributions.

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 11 assists in 67 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 and he became 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. Pulido's 13 goals since the start of June are second most in MLS and his four multi-goal games were also second most in MLS this season.

Sporting Kansas City players have won MLS Comeback Player of the Year honors on five occasions since the award was established in 2000: Tony Meola (2000), Chris Klein (2002, 2005), Eddie Johnson (2007) and Tim Melia (2015). Pulido is now in contention to join that list amidst arguably the greatest comeback season in the 28-year history of Major League Soccer. Previously, no player in MLS had scored 10 regular season goals after missing the entirety of his team's previous season due to injury.

After ousting the San Jose Earthquakes on penalty kicks in the Western Conference Wild Card match on Wednesday, Sporting Kansas City will continue the club's campaign in the Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs against No. 1 seed St. Louis CITY SC in a Round One Best-of-3 series that begins in St. Louis with Game 1 at 9 p.m. CT on Sunday live on FS1 and Apple TV's MLS Season Pass.