Sporting Kansas City manager Peter Vermes believes striker Alan Pulido is an underappreciated commodity.
Despite suffering from fitness issues and missing games through international duty, Pulido has still managed 14 goals and six assists in 26 appearances across all competitons since joining SKC from Deportivo Guadalajara in 2020.
Seven of those goals have come in just 12 outings this season, including his most recent; the opener in a 4-1 win away at LAFC on Wednesday to leave SKC top of the Western Conference.
Asked about Pulido’s performance after the match, Vermes heaped praise on his Mexican striker, believing the 30-year-old to be underappreciated thanks, perhaps, to Kansas City being a relatively “small market” when compared to other MLS franchises.
“I think the world of Alan,” Vermes said. “I think he’s a fantastic player. He’s a great pro. He has a great mentality for the game. He’s a humble guy. He’s a competitor and he’s let down because he didn’t play a lot for the national team. I understand that, too.
“He also knows that this is his home and he’s a part of the family here. We count on him a lot. The players have a lot of respect for his game and they know that he cares about the team.
“For him to just jump right in today and be as good as he was without playing for us for a month says so much about him. He doesn’t get enough credit. I don’t know why that is. I don’t know if it’s because he’s in Kansas City and we’re a small market. He does not get enough credit for what he does on a consistent basis for our team.
“He is a very, very good player and somebody that helps us immensely with the way that we play.”
After representing El Tri during their ultimately unsuccesful Concacaf Gold Cup campaign, Pulido was “very excited” to be back playing at club level, though he did admit he enjoyed playing in front of a strong Mexican contingent in Los Angeles.
“I am very happy,” Pulido said of his return to action for SKC. “I am very excited to come back with all the guys. This was the perfect match. We won. We get three points. This is very good. I’m so happy.”
On playing at Banc of California Stadium, Pulido added: “LA has many Mexican fans. I’m so ahppy to say hi to all of the people. Everything is good. For me, I am very happy tonight for my goal and for the team to win.”
SKC travel to Colorado Rapids on Saturday before a midweek clash with Club Leon in the Leagues Cup quarter-finals.