Sporting KC had a remarkable turnaround in the second half of the season, winning 12 games, losing 7 and drawing 5. This was enough to secure a spot in the playoffs with a victory over Minnesota United FC on Decision Day. The team’s success can be attributed to key players getting healthy and performing at their best.
Alan Pulido and Gadi Kinda, who missed the entire 2022 campaign with knee injuries, were instrumental 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 contributed with one goal and three assists in the playoffs.
Despite this success, Manager Peter Vermes acknowledged that the road to achieving it was not without its challenges. The disappointment of watching the 2022 postseason from home despite signing Willy Agada and Erik Thommy inspired an unsuccessful playoff push. Vermes explained that keeping the team motivated and focused 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, the team refused to give up and some players started feeling like they were returning to their true form as a team.