Sporting KC striker Alan Pulido undergoes knee surgery, set for 2021 return

Alan Pulido head down

Sporting Kansas City striker Alan Pulido underwent knee surgery Friday morning, manager and sporting director Peter Vermes disclosed in a virtual press conference later that day.

Vermes said their Designated Player No. 9 will be out between three and five weeks, noting the operation "was a little bit of a clean up, arthroscopically." He also described it as "not major surgery" and that they expect him back toward the end of the 2021 season.

Sporting have six regular-season games remaining, and they’ll host Real Salt Lake on November 7 (6 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+) for a Decision Day game that could have profound Audi MLS Cup Playoff implications. Vermes’ group is battling for the Western Conference’s No. 1 seed alongside the Colorado Rapids and Seattle Sounders.

Should Sporting make the postseason, the timeline Vermes outlined would likely make their club-record transfer available for those games. This year, the 30-year-old Mexican international has eight goals and three assists in 21 matches (15 starts).

Last season, his first in MLS, Pulido missed both of Sporting’s playoff games. He’s battled injuries since arriving from Liga MX’s Chivas Guadalajara, even suffering a right-foot laceration earlier this summer against LAFC.

Without Pulido, Sporting still boast an explosive attack that’s led by forwards Daniel Salloi, Johnny Russell and Khiry Shelton. Meanwhile, Gadi Kinda poses a goalscoring threat out of midfield.

Sporting KC return to action after the international break on October 17 when traveling to face Vancouver Whitecaps FC (10 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+).