(Photo credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports)
Sporting Kansas City made a move for their future by signing forward Alan Pulido to a three-year extension through the 2026 season on Thursday.
Pulido and Sporting KC (8-12-8, 32 points) will travel to face Minnesota United (9-8-10, 37 points) Saturday in Saint Paul, Minn.
Minnesota currently holds the seventh position in the Western Conference, so there's little margin for error heading down the stretch.
The Loons are unbeaten in their last seven league matches (3-0-4). They're coming off back-to-back 1-1 draws at San Jose and at home vs. New England.
In the game against the Revolution Sept. 9, Franco Fragapane scored in the third and final minute of second-half stoppage time to salvage the draw.
"Our home form has not been good enough this year," Loons coach Adrian Heath said after the match. "But you've heard me say, 'Never turn away a good point.' Today was our reward."
Sporting KC have even less room for mistakes. They're in 12th place, but just two points out of the final playoff spot heading into Saturday. They will need Pulido to keep up his pace.
In Pulido's career, Sporting KC possess a 28-16-12 record with 1.77 goals per game when Pulido plays. They're 20-28-13 with 1.25 goals per game when he does not.
Pulido has 13 goals this eason.
"One of the reasons he was brought in here was to score goals," SKC coach Peter Vermes said. "His strike rate is phenomenal. The fact that he's now healthy and fit, and that he's one goal shy of the top guy for the Golden Boot, despite the fact that the first 10 games of the season he was playing at about 40 percent, says a lot about his quality."
Since joining Sporting KC, Pulido has scored 29 goals and made 11 assists in 61 matches across all competitions. He's been tremendously impactful when he's been healthy, but that hasn't been often enough.
Pulido sustained an injury to his knee early in the 2021 season, which eventually required surgery. He was sidelined throughout the 2022 season and the first seven matches of this season. Pulido has scored 12 of his goals since June 1.
--Field Level Media