Alan Pulido red card thwarts Chivas reunion in Leagues Cup


The highly-anticipated Leagues Cup reunion between Alan Pulido and former club Chivas de Guadalajara likely won't happen, after the Mexican star striker was red-carded Sunday night in Sporting Kansas City's at FC Cincinnati.

Pulido, who joined Sporting from el Rebaño Sagrado as a club-record Designated Player signing in 2019, was sent off at the half-hour mark by referee Daniel Quintero Huitrón for a violent confrontation with Cincy defender Yerson Mosquera.

The 32-year-old will at the very least be suspended for SKC's showdown with his former club on Monday, July 31 (10:00 pm ET | Apple TV - Free, UniMás, FS1) at Children's Mercy Park. There is a chance both teams could cross each other's paths in the Leagues Cup quarterfinals, should they make it that far, which would permit a reunion after all.

Pulido's moment of fury took some serious momentum away from Kansas City, who were up 2-0 on tallies from Nick Hagglund (own goal, 9') and Daniel Rosero (12') when they went down a man.

The hosts leveled things through John Pulskamp (OG, 34') and Brandon Vazquez (56'), but Sporting retook the lead on a 69th-minute Gadi Kinda penalty kick goal. Cincy once again tied the score on a stoppage-time Luciano Acosta PK that made it 3-3 at the end of regulation time – forcing a shootout from the spot that went 4-2 in favor of the Orange & Blue.

Sporting KC manager and sporting director Peter Vermes agreed Pulido's actions merited a straight red, but was sympathetic to his star striker – the club's leading scorer in MLS this season with 10g/3a.

"It happens in games, people make mistakes. Players make mistakes," Vermes said postmatch. "In this situation, the right decision was made and the player was dealt with accordingly."

However, MLS's longest-tenured manager criticized Huitrón for awarding Cincinnati a stoppage-time PK for an apparent Rosero handball. It was a decision that completely changed the course of the night – and possibly the rest of Leagues Cup – for Sporting KC.

"How do you say it? I'm being nice, I'm saying it's disappointing," Vermes stated. "I could say some other words, but I'm sure most people wouldn't like it. So I won't."

Sunday's result leaves Sporting with one point ahead of their group-stage finale against Chivas. They'll need a positive result to advance to the knockout stages (top two teams advance), and they'll have to do it without Pulido.