Connect with us

Sporting KC

2024 Wishes

12 wishes for Kansas City soccer in 2024 from Sporting KC to the KC Current, the Comets and SKC II. Plus, international soccer!



Credit: Thad Bell

It’s a new year, and that means a chance to change, grow, and build for the future. As I’ve done for a number of years now I’m sharing a list of my wishes for 2024. These wishes aren’t what I think will happen, not what I expect to happen, but what I personally would like to see happen in 2024. I usually don’t do “pie in the sky” type wishes, I try to base most of them in reality.

1. Silverware. Always at the top of the list since I’ve started doing this. It’s been since 2017 that one of Kansas City’s professional soccer teams brought home some silverware, Sporting KC winning the 2017 US Open Cup. The KC Current have yet to win a championship, the KC Comets haven’t won one since the 2013-2014 MISL championship, and Sporting KC II haven’t won any either. The drought for Sporting could tie the longest drought in the club’s history (2004-2011) history if they don’t bring silverware home this year.

2. Fill the 3rd DP Slot. With Gadi Kinda’s departure now confirmed, Sporting KC will have a third Designated Player slot open in 2024. Filling that slot with another DP level talent is likely a necessary addition for KC in the arms race that is MLS right now. A case can be made for adding a DP quality player along any of KC’s three lines of field players. Obviously over the last couple months there’s been a number of jokes and comments made about KC Chiefs fan Antoine Griezmann, but never any sort of real truth to it. Don’t fill it just to fill it, but I don’t want to be sitting here in December with Sporting having sat on an open DP slot all year. There’s a big part of me though that feels like the earliest this wish will be coming true is this summer.

3. Pulido surpasses 2023 goal total. Alan Pulido finished 2023 with 14 goals in league play and added a 15th goal in all competitions. In September, Pulido signed his extension through 2026, but after that announcement, Pulido scored just one goal in KC’s final six league games and four playoff games, a rebound off a missed penalty kick against Real Salt Lake. He did add three assists in the playoffs, but in 2024 I want to see him find the net more.

4. Top 4 in the West. Kansas City squeaked into the playoffs as the eight seed in 2023, but after KC’s ten game winless run to start the season KC went 12-7-5 over their final 24 games. That averages out to 1.71 points-per-game. Over the course of a whole season that would have been good for first in the West and third in the league. If KC was even average in the first ten games of the season, they would have likely been close to a top four team in 2023. That said I’d like to see that in 2024. Avoid the play-in game and get home field advantage for the best-of-three series.

5. More game-to-game tactical adjustment from KC. One of the oft-used frustrations with Peter Vermes and his coaching style has been his rigid tactics, he has how his team wants to play and come hell or high water, Sporting is going to play that way. It’s good to have a definitive style that you play, it makes integration and player roles easier to define. But in KC’s case at times, it’s become as much a hinderance as it is helpful in breaking teams down. One thing that happened in the playoffs, specifically in the series against St. Louis City, is that Vermes flipped the script. He adjusted the team’s style. St. Louis City thrived in 2023 when they did not have the ball, they had the lowest percentage of possession over the course of the season. They struggled when they had the ball for more than 50 percent possession. Vermes ceded possession to St. Louis in the first game on the road at City Park and KC found great success pressuring and in transition and used it to go to a 4-1 win and put themselves in the driver’s seat for the series.

I’m not saying Vermes should go completely against the style he wants to play, but in 2024 I’d like to see more flexibility in the style. More game specific changes than “force the opposition to play against our way.” Doesn’t mean they go completely against it, but KC at times specifically in their attack, stalled with the slow patient build up trying to pull opposing players out of position. I’d like to see more flexibility, more countering at speed, more ceding possession in the right situations to force a team to change their style.

6. Figure out transition path from Melia. Tim Melia is a clear Sporting Legend, he’s the club’s all-time leader in wins, shutouts, and top 10 all time in appearances and starts for the clubs. That said, over the last two years, Melia has played in 37 of Sporting’s last 68 league games, 54 percent of Sporting’s games over the last two seasons. Along with that, Melia turns 38 in 2024, and while goalkeepers have a longer shelf life than most playing positions, KC needs to start planning for life after Melia. Whether that’s the 22-year-old John Pulskamp or the recently drafted Ryan Schewe, it’s time to start planning for the next full-time starter for KC.

7. Current return to the playoffs. Not to say that 2024 is make or break for the KC Current, but the 2024 season is a huge season for the Current. They’re opening CPKC Stadium along the KC riverfront, the first stadium purpose-built for a women’s professional soccer team. They spent money last year to bring in MVP candidate Debinha and have now brought in former US national team coach, Vlatko Andonovski as their new coach. Honestly, making the playoffs is the low bar for this team in 2024 and they should absolutely be aiming higher. But to start for 2024, making the playoffs is the start.

8. Comets finish top 3 in the East. The KC Comets are off to a strong start to the 2023-2024 MASL season, sitting second in the MASL’s Eastern Conference on 18 points. That’s six more points than the Comets had at this time last year, having played one less game so far this year.

9. Reget makes US Futsal team, US qualifies, and has good showing at Futsal World Cup. FIFA’s Futsal World Cup is coming up this September and October in Uzbekistan. The US will have their qualification in the 2024 CONCACAF Men’s Futsal Championship in Nicaragua in April. The US will be taking on Trinidad and Tobago, the Dominican Republic, and Guatemala in the group stage. CONCACAF will qualify four teams for the finals. The US will be attempting to qualify for their second straight futsal World Cup, having previously qualified 2021 edition of the tournament in Lithuania. The US had a rough go of that tournament, going 0-3 in group play, scoring two and conceding 22. Comets forward Zach Reget has been a regular contributor for the US team. The hope will be that he’ll be with the US team for qualifying and the tournament itself. The bad news for the Comets is that the qualification tournament will likely fall at some point during the MASL playoffs.

10. Sporting KC II build on 2023 season, make playoffs again. In his second season in charge of Sporting KC II, Benny Feilhaber led SKCII to a third-place finish in the Western Conference and a playoff appearance for the first time since 2018. Hopefully in 2024 he can continue to build on what the team did last year. He will head into the 2024 season with only five returners from the 2023 season; defenders Coby Jones and Nati Clarke, who received a professional contract after being on an academy contract last year, midfielders Sebastian Cruz and Ethan Bryant, and forward Pau Vidal.

11. USMNT have a good showing in Copa America. The Copa America returns to the US for the second time, having previously been hosted in 2016. The US in that tournament finished four, losing the third-place game to Colombia. This time the US is grouped with Bolivia, Panama, and Uruguay, certainly not an easy group to get out of, and getting out would see them play Brazil, Colombia, Paraguay, or Costa Rica/Honduras in the quarterfinals. The expectation for the US in this tournament should be to make the quarterfinals, get out of the group and get a likely match up with a team in the top 15 in the world (Brazil 5, Colombia 14). Anything beyond that would be a definite success for the US. For this wish to be good I’d want a quarterfinal appearance and look competitive while doing it.

12. Kansas City has a good showing while hosting Copa America. Kansas City will be hosting two games in the Copa America this time around, a test run for the World Cup coming to Kansas City in two years. The first game in KC will be June 25th and see Peru take on Canada or Trinidad and Tobago at Children’s Mercy Park. The second and bigger game in the tournament will take place on July 1st at Arrowhead Stadium, where the US will take on Uruguay. A good showing for Kansas City in my opinion would be a sellout, or close to it at CMP in the first game, and a crowd of 45,000-50,000 at Arrowhead for the US. I’m not saying the game needs to set a record for a soccer crowd in KC (52,424 KC Wizards vs Manchester United), but I’d like it to get close. I’d like KC to come out and show the city that it is, the city that loves sports and loves big events.

Recent Comments

KC Soccer Journal in your Inbox!

Be the first to know when news breaks, sign up to get all of our posts sent directly to your inbox.


Follow us on Twitter