Sporting KC had a remarkable year, finishing with a record of 12W-7L-5D and securing a spot in the playoffs with a win over Minnesota United FC on Decision Day. The team’s second half performance was nothing short of impressive, thanks to key players returning to health.
Alan Pulido and Gadi Kinda, both of whom missed the entire 2022 campaign due to knee injuries, played crucial roles in the team’s success. Pulido’s 14 goals and 3 assists earned him the title of 2023 MLS Comeback Player of the Year, while Kinda contributed 1 goal and 3 assists in the playoffs.
However, getting there was not without its challenges. Manager Peter Vermes was acutely aware of the disappointment that came from missing out on the postseason in 2022 despite some promising signings. Despite this setback, Vermes remained determined to turn things around and help his team find success again.
One of Vermes’ biggest challenges was keeping his team motivated when results were not coming easily. This required a lot of individual and team meetings as well as effective communication to ensure everyone was on the same page and working towards the same goal. Despite moments of doubt, Vermes maintained that his team did not give up and that they were slowly starting to feel like they were coming back to who they truly were as a unit.
Overall, Sporting KC’s comeback year was marked by determination, hard work, and resilience – qualities that will serve them well as they prepare for their next season in MLS.