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Sporting KC focuses on 2022 goals, not Alan Pulido’s injury

Alan Pulido
Posted at 5:28 PM, Feb 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-23 18:28:50-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The first question lobbed at Sporting Kansas City Manager and Sporting Director Peter Vermes during a Wednesday news conference was about injured striker Alan Pulido.

“This is my last time answering this question,” Vermes said sternly but with a smile.

Pulido, a 30-year-old center forward from Mexico, is the most high-profile signing in Sporting KC history, a former Liga MX scoring champion and arguably the most dynamic finisher in club history.

But he’s lost for the season after having cartilage repaired in his knee.

Pulido underwent an osteochondral autograft transfer system, or OATS, procedure last month. The surgery replaces damaged cartilage with tissue from a non-weight-bearing part of the body or a cadaver.

“Will Alan be missed? Of course,” Vermes said. “He’s a special player, for sure. But this is the business that we are in. Things happen, players get injured, players leave the club. All kinds of things always happen, and you have to be able to adapt and adjust.”

Vermes repeatedly has answered questions about how Pulido’s absence impacts the upcoming season, which begins at 2 p.m. Sunday at Atlanta United FC, but he’s ready to move forward and focus on the quest for a cup in 2022.

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“I have never built the team around one player,” Vermes said.

The goals for Sporting KC remain the same as always — to compete for an MLS championship and/or another trophy in 2022.

“For the most part, I think we do that all the time, and that’s what we’re going to try to do again this year,” Vermes said. “Do we have the players to do that? Yes, we do. Do we miss guys? Yes, for sure.”

Sporting KC also will be without attacking midfielder Gadi Kinda, who underwent a minor knee procedure during the offseason, to start the season.

Pulido and Kinda are both Designated Players, leaving right winger Johnny Russell as the only healthy Designated Player on Sporting KC’s roster for the time being.

2022 Sporting Kansas City roster breakdowns

Veteran Tim Melia brings stability in goal
Defensive depth gets offseason churn
Uri Rosell returns to anchor midfield
Sallói, Russell must shine again up top