Sporting KC had a remarkable turnaround in the second half of the season, finishing with a record of 12 wins, 7 losses, and 5 draws. The team secured a spot in the playoffs with a victory over Minnesota United FC on Decision Day. The key to their success was the return to health of several important players.
Alan Pulido and Gadi Kinda, who missed the entire 2022 campaign due to knee injuries, were instrumental in Sporting KC’s resurgence. Pulido’s impressive performance earned him the title of 2023 MLS Comeback Player of the Year, while Kinda contributed with one goal and three assists during the playoffs.
The road to success was not without challenges for Sporting KC. Manager Peter Vermes reflected on the disappointment of missing out on postseason action in 2022 despite signing Willy Agada and Erik Thommy. This experience added an extra layer of difficulty to their journey towards success.
Vermes acknowledged that maintaining belief, commitment, and effort when results were not coming easily was a significant challenge for his team. It required effective communication and individual and team meetings to keep everyone motivated and focused on their goals. Despite moments of doubt, Sporting KC persevered and slowly began to feel like they were returning to form as a team.