Sporting KC had a strong finish to the year, with a record of 12 wins, 7 losses, and 5 draws. This was enough to secure a playoff spot for the team with a win over Minnesota United FC on Decision Day. The second half of the season saw an incredible turnaround fueled by healthy key players.
Two integral players who missed the entire 2022 campaign due to knee injuries, Alan Pulido and Gadi Kinda, played a crucial role in the team’s success. Pulido was named MLS Player of the Year in 2023 with an impressive 14 goals and 3 assists. Kinda also contributed with one goal and three assists during the playoffs as he recovered from injury.
Despite their accomplishments, Sporting KC faced several challenges along the way. Manager Peter Vermes spoke about the disappointment of missing out on postseason action in 2022 despite signing Willy Agada and Eric Tommy, which ultimately led to a failed playoff push. The team’s past struggles still haunt them, adding extra difficulty to their journey towards success.
Vermes emphasized that it was challenging to keep the team focused and committed when results were not forthcoming easily. The team had numerous individual and group meetings as well as effective communication to maintain their faith and effort throughout the season. Despite moments of doubt, Sporting KC persevered, and some players began to feel that they were returning to their true form as a team.
In conclusion, Sporting KC had a remarkable turnaround in the second half of the season that helped them secure a playoff spot for the first time since missing out on postseason action in 2021. With healthy key players like Pulido and Kinda leading the way, this season has been one that will be remembered for years to come for this Kansas City-based Major League Soccer (MLS) club.