Sporting KC had a remarkable turnaround in the second half of the season, finishing with a 12W-7L-5D record and securing a spot in the playoffs with a win over Minnesota United FC on Decision Day. The team’s success was fueled by key players getting healthy, including Alan Pulido and Gadi Kinda, who missed the entire 2022 campaign with knee injuries.
Pulido’s 14 goals and 3 assists earned him the title of 2023 MLS Comeback Player of the Year, while Kinda, also recovering from injury, contributed 1 goal and 3 assists in the playoffs. Despite their return to form, they faced challenges along the way.
Manager Peter Vermes was disappointed by watching his team miss out on postseason action in 2022, despite signing Willy Agada and Erik Thommy to boost their chances of making it to the playoffs. The memory of that disappointment lingered throughout the season, adding an extra layer of difficulty to their journey towards success.
Vermes explained that keeping his team focused and motivated when results were not coming easily was a significant challenge. It involved numerous individual and team meetings as well as effective communication. Despite moments of doubt, the team remained committed to their goal of making it to the playoffs.
As they celebrated their victory over Minnesota United FC on Decision Day, Vermes acknowledged that their success was due to hard work and determination. He praised his players for their resilience and perseverance throughout the season.
Sporting KC’s impressive performance on Decision Day marked the end of a challenging year but paved the way for another successful season ahead.