In 2023, Sporting KC had a remarkable comeback and secured a playoff spot with a convincing win over Minnesota United FC. The team’s success was due in large part to the return of key players from injury.
Designated Players Alan Pulido and Gadi Kinda both missed the 2022 season with knee injuries, but their return in 2023 had a significant impact on the team. Pulido’s impressive performance earned him the title of MLS Comeback Player of the Year, while Kinda proved himself in the playoffs with 1 goal and 3 assists.
Despite their positive turnaround, Manager Vermes was still impacted by the disappointment of watching the 2022 postseason from home. The presence of new signings Willy Agada and Erik Thommy initially inspired an unsuccessful playoff push, adding to the lingering scars from the previous year.
Vermes noted the difficulty of keeping the team motivated and committed during the early part of the season when results were not in their favor. He expressed his effort put into individual and team meetings, as well as communication, to keep the team believing and working hard. However, he also credited them for not giving up and staying true to their effort even when they faced challenges.