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Alan Pulido signs new three-year deal with Sporting KC

What does the signing mean for Sporting Kansas City in terms of roster flexibility, salary budget space and more?



Credit: Thad Bell

Sporting Kansas City announced on Thursday morning the re-signing of striker Alan Pulido to a three-year contract. Details aren’t available on the contract (and likely won’t be until next Spring/Summer), but the release does say he will occupy a Designated Player roster spot. For 2024, that means he’ll make at least $1,683,750.

The rumor that initially came out is that he would make $4.4 million per season, but that rumor also had it as a two-year deal. His prior deal paid him $2.2 million per season. If the raise is true, it doesn’t impact the salary budget (a true DP is a DP at any wage above that ~$1.7m number), it only impacts the owners’ pocketbooks.

Sporting KC has played 133 games across all competitions since Pulido’s arrival, including 115 regular season games. Alan featured in less than half of those matches, with 61 total appearances in all competitions. However, when he’s in the lineup, the team is exceptional. In the regular season, “the team has a 28-16-12 record (.607 winning percentage) with 1.71 points per game and 1.77 goals per game. In the 61 [regular season] matches without him during that time, Sporting is 20-28-13 (.434 winning percentage) with 1.2 points per game and 1.25 goals per game.”

Injury Concerns

Even before missing all of the 2022 MLS season, Alan Pulido has a history of injuries. When my colleague Mike Kuhn broke down the value for the money even before the totality of the 2022 season was missed, the numbers weren’t good.

Add to that he’s currently 32-years-old (33 in March, around the start of the 2024 league year). He’ll be 35 before this contract is up.

There is no argument that Pulido isn’t absolutely fantastic when he’s healthy. It’s just a matter of staying healthy. Manager Peter Vermes has long said it was a fluke that Pulido got injured with the Mexican National Team and basically every problem extended from that situation. Since he’s been healthy in 2023, he’s bagged 13 goals in regular season play (currently second in all of MLS). He’s just one goal behind 2022 league MVP Hany Mukhtar.

His 13 goals this season come in just 1,794 minutes. That’s 0.65 goals per 90, which is outstanding. When healthy, he’s elite.

Further Ramifications for Sporting KC

There are two areas that immediately come to mind in regard to the Pulido news. First, this occupies a Designated Player spot, so that’s one less team-changing signing the team can make in the offseason.

Second, that keeps Willy Agada pushed down the depth chart. Agada was fantastic in 2022 and then wasn’t the same to start 2023 before he had his surgery. The team has two option years left on Agada’s deal, so I assume he’ll be back. Agada is still just 23-years-old and hopefully he’ll continue to receive more minutes to keep Alan fresh. Heck, maybe they can even play together.

The KC Soccer Journal will bring you more on the Pulido signing as it becomes available. There is a press conference happening very soon.

The story had additional contributions by Cody Bradley.

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