Tag Archives: Alan Pulido

Sporting KC: 2019 Roster Moves

Official Sporting KC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

Sporting Kansas City’s roster has undergone some drastic, much needed changes in the past few weeks, including the club making a momentous splash earlier this week with the signing of Liga MX top-scorer Alan Pulido.

First, the 2019 MLS Expansion Draft hit SKC’s roster once again – followed by an immediate trade saw two Sporting KC players sent to Nashville SC.

Jimmy Medranda

Nashville selected Jimmy Medranda, a 25-year-old midfielder, for their 10th and final pick of the draft – ending his six-year career in Kansas City. He became the 11th Sporting player to be taken in an MLS Expansion Draft.

Medranda recorded five goals and eight assists in 108 competitive appearances for Sporting from 2013-2019. The Colombian’s tenure with the club was highlighted by a 2013 MLS Cup title and Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup titles in 2015 and 2017.

But is Medranda another “Latif Blessing level” mistake?

It’s too soon to be certain, but Medranda was a great asset for the team.

Adrian Zendejas

Immediately after the draft concluded, the club acquired $125,000 in 2020 Targeted Allocation Money, $50,000 in 2020 General Allocation Money, and an international roster spot for the 2020 season from MLS expansion club Nashville SC in exchange for goalkeeper Adrian Zendejas.

Zendejas was a prominent backup keeper for Sporting KC and their USL affiliate, the Swope Park Rangers. It has been a rocky season for the young keeper, who, after two years with the club, finally made his league debut in a 1-1 draw over FC Cincinnati on April 7. Additionally, Zendejas conceded four goals in SKC’s early exit from the 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

Additional Roster Moves

The club announced further roster moves heading into the 2020 MLS season on November 21st ahead of the drafts.

Sporting KC has exercised contract options on the following five players: goalkeeper Eric Dick, defender Graham Smith and forwards Gerso Fernandes, Erik Hurtado, and Daniel Salloi.

In turn, Sporting declined contract options for Seth Sinovic, Benny Feilhaber, and Gedion Zelalem.

Forward Krisztian Nemeth, and defenders Nico Hasler and Rodney Wallace are also out of contract with the club.

But it’s not over yet.

Sporting KC passed for the End-of-Year Waivers process. However, the club made a selection during the first stage of the Re-Entry Draft before passing on the second stage.

Richard Sanchez

Sporting KC selected former Chicago Fire goalkeeper Richard Sanchez in Stage 1 of the 2019 MLS Re-Entry Draft.

The 25-year-old already has nine seasons of professional experience under his belt, getting his start in the FC Dallas Academy and competing in both the United States and Mexico. Sanchez has spent the last three seasons in MLS with the Chicago Fire – recording 90 saves across 27 league appearances.

According to the club’s statement:

“On the international stage, Sanchez was the starting goalkeeper and played all seven matches for Mexico as El Tri captured the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup title on home soil. He was also Mexico’s starting keeper at the 2013 U-20 World Cup two years later, helping his side reach the Round of 16.”

Sanchez’s signing completes SKC’s goalkeeper roster, with Tim Melia and Eric Dick. Sanchez will likely serve as a great backup, if not occasional starter.

Roberto Punčec

Sporting Kansas City announced they have signed 28-year-old Croatian defender Roberto Punčec. Punčec has inked a two-year MLS contract through 2021 with an option for 2022. He will occupy an international spot on Sporting’s roster pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P1 visa.

The Varazdin native has amassed almost 300 professional appearances across 12 professional seasons in Croatia, Israel, and Germany. He played over 100 matches with Union Berlin in the second-division, German 2. Bundesliga before returning home to Croatia to play the last two and a half years for HNK Rijeka, where he won the 2019 Croatian Cup this spring.

Manager Peter Vermes seemed enthused with the new signing:

“Roberto has significant experience playing in Europe over the last several years,” Vermes said. “He is very excited to be here and we look forward to him integrating into our club and our city.”

Punčec joins four other center backs on the roster: Matt Besler, Botond Barath, Andreu Fontás, and Graham Smith. He will likely serve as a backup to either starter since Fontás has undergone surgery for a insertional Achilles tendon clean up and repair surgery in October – he is expected to be out for 4-5 months.

Khiry Shelton

Welcome back, Khiry!

A familiar face returns to the Blue Hell as the club signed the 26-year-old forward to a three-year MLS contract through 2022 with an option for 2023.

Shelton spent 2019 with German club SC Paderborn 07, returns to Kansas City for his second stint. He first helped the club place in the Western Conference in 2018.

In his first stint with Sporting KC, Shelton started 17 of his 24 appearances in all competitions. Shelton was not prolific in 2018, scoring twice and adding five assists in MLS play but he was part of the record breaking offense that saw SKC sit atop the west with an 18-8-8 record. Sporting KC was 12-3-5 in matches Shelton played. 

With that being said, I feel like this is more of a depth signing for the club, but only time will tell.

Alan Pulido

Last but not least, SKC’s blockbuster signing.

Sporting KC finally found a striker in Liga MX’s top-scorer Alan Pulido. Pulido was acquired for a record fee transfer – a reported $9.5 million – making him the most expensive signing in the club’s history and one of the most expensive signings in MLS history.

“My dream would be to fight for the MLS Cup and to win the title. There’s no bigger dream or motivation than that, and of course I want to bring joy to the fans with my goals. I’d like to grow personally, and I would like to be the top scorer in MLS—that would be a big dream of mine,” Pulido said.

Pulido has yet to arrive in Kansas City and he is already making waves.

Sporting KC kicks off the 2020 MLS campaign on the road in Vancouver. Then will return to KC to open the season on March 7 as they host longtime rival, Houston Dynamo.

Featured image: Peaty Romano

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Sporting KC Signs Liga MX Striker Alan Pulido for Record Fee

Official Sporting KC Reporter

By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1

Sporting Kansas City has officially acquired 2019 Liga MX Apertura Golden Boot winner Alan Pulido from Chivas Guadalajara on a club record transfer fee.

The Mexican striker signed a four-year MLS contract through 2023 and will occupy an international spot on Sporting’s roster pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P1 visa.

After years of searching, Manager Peter Vermes finally got his momentous No. 9 for a reported $9.5 million – making it the richest transfer fee ever paid by Sporting KC and Pulido the highest paid player in MLS history. However, it is important to note the club has not officially released any details beyond a “club record”.

“We are very excited to add Alan Pulido to our roster ahead of the new season,” Sporting Kansas City Manager and Sporting Director Peter Vermes said. “He is a winner, has a terrific work rate and embodies all of the attributes we value at our club. We also want to thank Chivas for being an incredibly professional partner and appreciate the relationship we have created with them. Alan is ready for this new challenge and looks forward to getting started with us on the field in January.”

The highly decorated 28-year-old striker joins Sporting KC having scored over 100 combined goals for club and country. His appearances include five domestic championships, the 2018 CONCACAF Champions League title and 13 caps for the Mexico Men’s National Team. Pulido finished atop the Liga MX scoring charts with 12 goals for Chivas Guadalajara in the 2019 Apertura season (the July to December half) this fall.

Image courtesy of Sporting Kansas City

Alan has earned seven club titles among other individual honors:

  • 40 goals for Tigres in all competitions (2009-2014)
  • 41 goals for Guadalajara in all competitions (2016-2019)
  • Five goals in 13 appearances for Mexico Men’s National Team
  • 2012 Concacaf Olympic Qualifying Tournament top scorer (Mexico U-23s)
  • 2014 Copa MX Clausura top scorer (Tigres)
  • 2017 Liga MX Clausura Best XI (Guadalajara)
  • 2018 Concacaf Champions League Goal of the Tournament (Guadalajara)
  • 2019 Liga MX Clausura top scorer (Guadalajara)

Click here to view a full list of honors

El Tri fans will recognize the Ciudad Victoria native from his time with Mexico’s men’s national team after making his senior international debut on January 29, 2014, scoring a hat-trick in a 4-0 friendly win against South Korea in San Antonio, Texas. He went on to score two additional goals for El Tri and made his last appearance for the senior team in September 2018, featuring in a friendly losses to Uruguay and the U.S.

Pulido is expected to arrive in Kansas City in January.

Featured image: Courtesy of Major League Soccer

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