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Why Alan Pulido Needs MLS To Resurrect His Career

Alan Pulido's career has stalled since moving to Europe. Can a transfer to MLS' Colorado Rapids help the Mexican striker unlock his enormous potential?

In early 2014, it seemed Alan Pulido had the world at his feet. Pulido had capped his finest club season to date, scoring 24 goals in 40 appearances for Tigres, with a goal in the 2014 Copa MX Final. UANL would go on to defeat Oaxaca 3-0, capturing their third Copa MX overall and their first since the 1995/96 season.

A week earlier, he scored the tying goal in a friendly against the United States in Glendale, Arizona. This was his fourth goal for El Tri, adding to the debut hat trick he’d scored against South Korea in January.

An invitation to participate with the Mexican national team at the 2014 World Cup beckoned, Pulido, aged only 23-years-old, was the next great Mexican striker. It is now almost two years later and these achievements still mark the finest moments of Pulido’s stagnating career. 

After returning from the World Cup, a messy transfer dispute over a contract extension with Tigres that Pulido claimed was falsified, a claim which the Court of Arbitration for Sport rejected, saw Pulido inactive throughout the 2014 Apertura tournament as he wrangled for a move to Europe. Pulido wouldn’t play a competitive match again until March 9, 2015. 

Essentially, Pulido had a year away from competitive football during an extremely formative period of his career. The ruling of the court in his case was stingingly personal, saying that “there is not a risk of irreparable damage to the player, because such damage, if it exists, is caused by the player himself who decided not to re-join Tigres.”

In hindsight, irreparable damage was certainly done to Pulido’s career and it was all of his own making. His angling for a move to Olympiacos in the Greek Super League was finally fulfilled on July 3, 2015. The reward for finally reaching his preferred destination? His 2015/16 season has so far amounted to a single goal and an assist in the Greek Cup. With the season past its halfway point, Pulido is struggling to make the bench for Olympiacos.  

Alan Pulido MLS Colorado Rapids Transfer

Photo: @PeriodicoZocalo | Twitter

Now, with Pulido looking to resurrect his career and desperate for playing time, he’s reportedly open to a move to MLS side Colorado Rapids. The Rapids are equally desperate to reignite their own fortunes. They finished in last place in the Western Conference during the 2015 season, and, more worryingly, scored only 33 goals in 34 matches.

Attendance plummeted in Colorado while recently acquired designated player Kevin Doyle struggled to convert the few chances that came his way. The Rapids were reportedly looking into bringing El Tri starlet Carlos Vela to Colorado but with Real Sociedad not looking to sell Vela until the summer, Pulido is the Rapids’ best option before the season kicks off in early March.

For Alan Pulido and the Colorado Rapids, it seems to be an obvious answer, clearly beneficial for both parties. Pulido needs game time, which the Rapids can guarantee. The Rapids needs goals, which Pulido should guarantee. 

The MLS offers Pulido much needed competitive minutes, a chance to reestablish his name and, eventually, a route back to Europe. As former Mexico international Gonzalo Pineda told ESPN, “The league is no longer a step back in a player’s career…MLS is a great springboard. European clubs have a lot of direct contact with the league.”

Alan Pulido is in desperate need of a springboard to get his career back on track. 

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