Sporting KC finished the 2023 season on a high note, securing a spot in the playoffs with a win over Minnesota United FC on Decision Day. The team’s impressive performance in the second half of the season was fueled by key players getting healthy, including Alan Pulido and Gadi Kinda.
Pulido’s 14 goals and 3 assists earned him the title of 2023 MLS Comeback Player of the Year, while Kinda, who recovered from injury, contributed 1 goal and 3 assists in the playoffs. Despite missing the entire 2022 campaign with knee injuries, these two players played crucial roles in Sporting KC’s success this season.
However, the road to success was not without its challenges. Manager Peter Vermes recalled the disappointment of watching his team miss out on the postseason in 2022, despite signing Willy Agada and Erik Thommy. This experience added an extra layer of difficulty to Sporting KC’s journey to success.
Vermes explained that getting his team to maintain their belief, commitment, and effort when results were not coming easily was a significant challenge. It required individual and team meetings as well as effective communication. Despite moments of doubt, however, Sporting KC did not give up and began to feel like they were returning to their true selves as a team.