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Alan Pulido Edges Lucas Cavallini On MLS Debut As Sporting KC Defeat Vancouver Whitecaps

Alan Pulido Edges Lucas Cavallini On MLS Debut As Sporting KC Defeat Vancouver Whitecaps

By Sebastian Pereira at BC Place, Vancouver.

Western Conference adversaries Vancouver Whitecaps and Sporting Kansas City faced off in their Major League Soccer season opener at BC Place stadium, with Sporting claiming a 3-1 away win.

After poor 2019 seasons, both sides went big this offseason, securing two proven Liga MX strikers for club-record fees in Lucas Cavallini and Alan Pulido respectively.

The match began with Kansas City dominating possession and it proved evidence in the 17th minute, as Pulido himself headed in a scramble In the box to notch his first MLS goal.

The ‘Caps found an answer ten minutes later thanks to some brilliant play by winger David Milinkovic, on loan from Hull City, to set up defender Jake Nerwinski at the back-post.

Kansas City retook the lead through midfielder Gadi Kinda with a stunning shot from outside the box in 39th minute.

Kinda, who arrived on loan from Israeli side Beitar Jerusalem, showed several moments of quality with his passing, ball control and dribbling, which proved vital to Kansas City’s performance.

Just before halftime, Cavallini had a wonderful chance to open his MLS account.

After an attempted clearance ricocheted off Johnny Russell’s head in the Kansas City box, the ball fell to Cavallini’s feet but he wasn’t able to hit the target, smashing his attempt off the woodwork.

The second half was rather stagnant, with the ‘Caps pushing forward for the equalizer and Kansas City gladly sitting back waiting to hit the home side on the counter.

In the final minute of the game, Sporting doubled their lead. Gerso Fernandes floated a ball towards the back post for former Whitecap Erik Hurtado, who volleyed home to give the away side a 3-1 opening day win.

“I’m very happy to make what was a dream debut, to be honest,” said Pulido.

“Obviously, it’s my first game, first goal, and first win with Kansas City, but we have to take things slowly and build from this great victory.”

The former Chivas man also commented on the standard of MLS, saying the level of competitiveness is one of the main reasons he decided to take on the challenge offered to him by Sporting.

Pulido and Kansas City will now return home to face Houston Dynamo, who drew 1-1 with LA Galaxy on Saturday, while the Whitecaps will be looking to bounce back in California in the Galaxy’s home opener at Dignity Health Sports Park.