As Sporting Kansas City continue their ascent up the Western Conference table, forward Alan Pulido has garnered Player of the Matchday presented by Continental Tire honors for Matchday 18 of the 2023 season.
The 32-year-old put in a dominant performance in Sporting KC's 4-1 rout over Austin FC at Children's Mercy Park on Saturday, scoring a brace and adding an assist to power the lopsided result. Pulido notched goals in the 19th and 57th minutes, also providing the flicked assist that resulted in Robert Castellanos' 47th-minute tally.
Pulido's return to fitness and form following a lengthy injury absence (knee) has proved vital as Sporting KC have rebounded from a down start to their 2023 campaign and become one of the league's hottest teams in recent weeks. Since the start of May, the club has posted a 5W-1L-2D record over their last eight matches, with the 17 points accumulated over that span the highest mark in the Western Conference and the third-most in MLS.
Pulido is the first Sporting Kansas City player to win Player of the Matchday since Johnny Russell on Matchday 33 of the 2021 campaign. It's the second such award of his MLS career, the first one coming on Matchday 15 in 2020.
After missing 2022 due to injury, Pulido has scored in consecutive regular-season matches for the first time since 2021 (June 26 - Aug. 4). In the 15 regular-season matches Pulido has scored a goal in, Kansas City have produced a 13W-1L-1D record.
The MLS Player of the Matchday presented by Continental Tire is selected each matchday of the regular season through both media and fan voting in a process conducted by MLS Communications. A panel of journalists from the North American Soccer Reporters (NASR) comprises 75 percent of the vote, while a Twitter fan vote represents the remaining 25 percent of voting. NASR consists of members of print, television, radio, and online media.