Trending upward as the final month of the USL Championship regular season commences, Sporting Kansas City II (4-5-1, 13 points) will travel east to battle cross-state rivals Saint Louis FC (4-3-3, 15 points) in a pivotal Group E matchup on Friday at 7 p.m. CT inside West Community Stadium. The contest will stream live on ESPN Plus and @SportingKCII will provide additional in-game updates on Twitter.
Led by third-year head coach and former MLS midfielder Paulo Nagamura, Sporting Kansas City II has collected consecutive wins over Oklahoma opponents and moved within four points of the second and final playoff spot in Group E. Twenty-year-old striker Wilson Harris bagged a brace and defender Danny Barbir notched a late third to seal a 3-0 triumph against OKC Energy FC on Aug. 22, seven days before Harris and forward Fredinho Mompremier found the back of the net in a hard-earned 2-1 victory at FC Tulsa last weekend.
On the same night that Sporting KC II topped Tulsa, Saint Louis FC settled for a 1-1 home draw against Louisville City FC. Mour Samb gave the hosts a 1-0 lead in the 14th minute, but Sean Totsch equalized on the half-hour mark to keep Louisville two points clear of Saint Louis for second place in Group E.
In the 55th minute of last Saturday’s triumph over FC Tulsa, Harris etched his name into the history books. With a clever near-post run and first-time finish off Dillon Serna’s low cross, the forward bagged his third game-winner of 2020 and took his goal tally to a team-leading five on the season. Even more significantly, he became the youngest player ever to hit 20 career goals in the USL Championship at 20 years and 275 days. No other USL Championship player has accomplished the feat at a younger age.
Serna, meanwhile, was named to the USL Championship Team of the Week on Tuesday after assisting both goals versus FC Tulsa and finishing with a game-high nine recoveries plus two blocked shots. The 26-year-old leads the team with three assists this season and has started eight of nine appearances since making his club debut in July.
Under the guidance of head coach Steve Trittschuh, Saint Louis FC boasts a pair of dangerous forwards in former Sporting KC II attacker Tyler Blackwood and Olathe South High School alum Kyle Greig. Samb has also provided a scoring punch in recent weeks and struck in the 3-1 defeat of Sporting KC II on Aug. 15.
Friday will mark Sporting KC II’s third of four visits to Saint Louis this season. The sides played to a 1-1 tie on Aug. 5 prior to Saint Louis claiming a 3-1 win on Aug. 15. Nagamura’s men will visit West Community Stadium once more on Sept. 19.
USL Championship: Match 11 of 16
Date: Friday, Sept. 4
Kickoff: 7 p.m. CT
Location: West Community Stadium (Fenton, Missouri)
Live Stream: ESPN Plus
Sporting Kansas City II: 4-5-1, 13 points (4th place in Group E)
Saint Louis FC: 4-3-3, 15 points (3rd place in Group E)