The 2023 season has been a successful one for Sporting KC, as the team secured a spot in the playoffs with a win over Minnesota United FC on Decision Day. After finishing the year with a record of 12W-7L-5D, the team is now set to compete for the MLS Cup.
One of the key factors that contributed to Sporting KC’s success was the return of key players from injury. Alan Pulido and Gadi Kinda, who missed the entire 2022 campaign due to knee injuries, were integral to the team’s attack. Pulido’s impressive performance 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.
However, despite their impressive performance, Sporting KC faced several challenges throughout the season. Manager Peter Vermes recalled the disappointment of watching his team miss out on playoff contention in 2022, despite signing Willy Agada and Erik Thommy. This setback added an extra layer of difficulty to their journey towards success.
Vermes explained that maintaining belief and commitment when results were not coming easily was a significant challenge for his team. This involved regular individual and team meetings as well as effective communication between players and staff members. Despite moments of doubt and frustration, Vermes said that some players started to feel they were coming back to who they truly were as a team.
In conclusion, Sporting KC’s success this season can be attributed to their perseverance and determination in overcoming challenges such as injuries and disappointments from previous seasons. With newfound confidence and commitment, they are ready to take on any challenges that come their way in pursuit of winning the MLS Cup.