Sporting KC’s second half of the season was marked by a significant turnaround, as the team went from struggling to finding success. The comeback was fueled by key players getting healthy and making a huge impact on the team’s performance.
Alan Pulido and Gadi Kinda, who missed the entire 2022 campaign with knee injuries, were integral to 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 also contributed with one goal and three assists in the playoffs.
Despite their successes, the journey to success was not without challenges. Manager Peter Vermes was still haunted by memories of watching his team miss out on postseason action in 2022, despite signing Willy Agada and Erik Thommy to boost their hopes for a successful playoff push. These setbacks added an extra layer of difficulty to their quest for success.
Vermes explained that keeping his players motivated and committed when results were not coming easily was a significant challenge. He had to rely on individual and team meetings, effective communication, and a lot of hard work from his players to keep them focused on their goals. Despite moments of doubt and frustration, Sporting KC persevered and eventually found themselves back in the playoffs thanks to their impressive performance in Decision Day against Minnesota United FC.
The road ahead will be just as challenging for Sporting KC as they prepare for the playoffs, but with their newfound confidence and determination, they are ready to take on whatever comes next.