Major League Soccer announced today the candidates for the MLS is Back Tournament Best XI presented by BODYARMOR, with Sporting Kansas City striker Alan Pulido among the nominees for media voting. The 29-year-old Mexican is one of 11 forwards on the voting ballot for the MLS is Back Tournament Best XI, which will be announced on Thursday.
Pulido played a leading role in Walt Disney World as Sporting Kansas City finished atop Group D and advanced to the quarterfinals of the historic competition. He started all five matches in the tournament and recorded team highs in goals (two), assists (three), shots (26) and fouls suffered (13).
After joining Sporting Kansas City last December on a club-record transfer from Liga MX giants Chivas de Guadalajara, Pulido scored in his first two MLS appearances to start the 2020 campaign. Following a four-month hiatus in match play, the forward picked up where he left off at the MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando.
In the group stage, Pulido assisted Sporting’s lone goal in a 2-1 loss to Minnesota United FC, scored in a 3-2 win over the Colorado Rapids and set up both goals in a 2-0 defeat of Real Salt Lake. In the knockout stage, he converted his penalty kick in a shootout win over Vancouver Whitecaps FC before adding another goal in a 3-1 quarterfinal loss to the Philadelphia Union.
Sporting’s three group stage matches in the MLS is Back Tournament counted toward the league standings, lifting Manager Peter Vermes’ side to first place in the Western Conference with 12 points and a 4-1-0 record. Pulido has three goals and four assists in regular season play and is the only MLS player with a goal or an assist in all five regular season appearances this year. He is also one of just two players—alongside teammate and fellow forward Khiry Shelton—with three goals, five chances created and 30 duels won during the 2020 regular season.
Pulido and Sporting will continue their MLS campaign on Aug. 21 at second-place Minnesota United FC as Major League Soccer returns to home markets for the first time since March. MLS announced Saturday that all clubs will play an additional 18 matches through Nov. 8 to round out the 23-game regular season. Sporting has released the schedule for their next six matches through Sept. 13 and the additional fixtures will be announced in the coming weeks.
The Audi MLS Cup Playoffs are scheduled to begin Nov. 20 and will culminate Dec. 12 with the 25th MLS Cup.
Sporting’s next three home matches at Children’s Mercy Park—Aug. 25 against the Houston Dyanmo, Sept. 2 versus FC Dallas and Sept. 13 versus Minnesota—will be held at a reduced capacity of approximately 14% with socially distanced seating, mandatory face coverings for fans and a number of other safety protocols in place. Tickets for the next three home contests will be available exclusively to Sporting Kansas City Season Ticket Members via lotteries and no single-game tickets will be sold by the club on SeatGeek.com or at the stadium box office.