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End of Year

A Look Back at 2023 Wishes



As 2023 closes out, it’s time to take a look back at my wishes from 2023 and what happened with them. What wants were successful wishes, what ones weren’t, was I way off on some, were they close? Let’s take a look.

Currently the old Blue Testament website, where I’d posted my wishes originally is not working at the moment to link to the original post, so you’ll have to imagine what I wrote.

1. Silverware. Unfortunately, this was a no for any of Kansas City’s teams. Sporting KC finished 15th in the Supporters’ Shield standings, fell in the Western Conference semifinals to the Houston Dynamo, the round of 32 of the US Open Cup, also to the Houston Dynamo, the round of 32 of the Leagues Cup to Toluca. The KC Current failed to make the playoffs and were again knocked out of the NWSL Challenge Cup by the North Carolina Courage. Sporting KC II returned to the playoffs but fell at home to Austin FC 2. The Comets finished the season as the fifth seed in the East but fell in the play-in game to Utica City FC.

2. At least a ten plus point improvement over 2022 for Sporting. This wish did not come true, as Sporting increased from 40 points in 2022 to 44 points in 2023.It was enough to allow Kansas City to return to the playoffs but was not the improvement that I was looking for from the team.

3. Make a splash signing. There was no splash signing after Sporting flirted with the idea of signing Cristiano Ronaldo. The biggest addition after the first of the year was the addition of Dany Rosero in central defense, where he became an immediate every game center back for Sporting.

4. Young player break out season. I’m calling this one a success, arguably, Sporting had two young players break out this year, one sort of expected, one a surprise. It took much of the season, but Logan Ndenbe came good for Sporting in 2023 and looked on path to finally being able to establish an every game left back for Sporting for the first time since Seth Sinovic. An injury in Sporting’s second game against St. Louis City in the playoffs will limit his chance to grow from that in 2024, but he was certainly a breakout player in 2023.

The surprise was at the other outside back position, where Jake Davis was given a chance to win the spot after injuries to Graham Zusi and Kayden Pierre and Cameron Duke failing to impress there and made it his own. After earning his first start there in the US Open Cup against Tulsa Athletic, Davis started 31 of the final 33 games of the season across all competitions. He certainly appears to be heading into 2024 as the starter at that position ahead of Pierre.

5. Zusi retirement as a “One Club Player.” From a personal standpoint, this one is sadly a no. There was never an announcement from Graham Zusi (or Roger Espinoza) that he’d retire after the season. Sporting declined the 2024 option on Zusi’s contract, and it appears that he’ll try to continue playing elsewhere in 2024.

6. Vermes contract decision. This one was confirmed in February when it was announced that Peter Vermes was signing a five-year extension through the 2028 season. After KC’s poor performance to start the season, this looked like a massive mistake. And while there is certainly a portion of the fan base that is still ready to move on from the club legend, he did turn things around after the horror start to 2023.

7. Kinda and Pulido return and are contributors. I’d call this one a success for 2023, Gadi Kinda and Alan Pulido combined for 17 goals and seven assists in league play for KC in 2023. In all competitions the pair combined for 20 goals and 14 assists. Overall, a strong contribution from the pair of DPs.

8. Leagues Cup break in season doesn’t slow league play momentum. In a way the break had the opposite effect on Sporting as the Leagues Cup break allowed them to regroup for the final push that allowed Sporting to make the playoffs. Heading into the Leagues Cup break, Sporting had won just one of their last seven games and were sitting with a 6-11-8 (W-L-D) record. Over the final nine league games after the tournament, Sporting doubled their win total, lost just three games and pushed into the playoffs as Sporting finished the season 12-14-8.

9. Mewis and Williams see plenty of time on the field for the Current. Another wish that did not happen. Sam Mewis didn’t step on the field for the KC Current in 2023 and it appears her on field career could be over. As for Lynn Williams, the Current traded her Gotham FC in exchange for the second pick in the 2023 NWSL draft, where the Current selected Michelle Cooper. Williams went on to help Gotham win the NWSL championship.

10. Current push to earn playoff bye. The Current started 0-3, fired Matt Potter, and never really recovered. They flirted with the playoff line through the season, but in the end were eliminated with a couple weeks left in the season.

11. Playoff push for Sporting KC II. This wish I’m calling a success; Sporting KC II was a bright spot in 2023 for Sporting. KC finished with a 13-9-6 (4 shootout wins) record, good for third in the Western Conference in Benny Feilhaber’s second season in charge of KC’s MLS Next Pro team. The playoffs didn’t go KC’s way, but after going 24-62-20 over the prior four seasons, it was a big step in the right direction for KC’s reserves.

12. Sporting KC II player shows enough to earn a first team contract. I’m calling this one a success as well as Sporting has signed Honduran Alenis Vargas to a first team contract after acquiring him via transfer from Futbol Consultants Desamparados. Vargas had six goals and five assists in 21 games for SKCII and looked dangerous through his time. He was one of a few SKCII players that looked possible to play their way into the first team. Others included Ethan Bryant, who got time with the first team in 2 US Open Cup games in 2023, leading scorer, Pau Vidal, and the team’s MVP Lucas Rosa. Of those three, Bryant and Vidal are back for the 2024 season so maybe one of them could make the jump midseason or after the 2024 season.

13. Comets win the East. As I mentioned earlier, the KC Comets finished fifth in the Eastern Conference, the final playoff spot and fell to Utica City FC in the play-in round of the playoffs. After the roll over to the new year, KC played just .500 soccer, going 7-7-2 (W-L-OTL) in the 2023 portion of the 2022-2023 season.

14. USWNT win the 2023 World Cup. Maybe the less said about this tournament from the USWNT perspective the better. It was far from a strong performance from the US team. They couldn’t score, they didn’t seem to assert themselves you’d expect the US team to and ended up going out in the Round of 16 on penalty kicks.

15. USMNT win 2023 Gold Cup. Unfortunately, this wish didn’t happen for the US as they went out on penalty kicks in the semifinals to Panama. There was a high for the USMNT in 2023 though as before the Gold Cup they won the 2022-2023 CONCACAF Nations League, first beating Mexico 3-0 in the semifinal before topping Canada 2-0 in the final. Having won the Nations League, the US rotated out a number of first team players and brought a number of depth players up for the Gold Cup.


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