On the heels of a thrilling, last-gasp 2-1 road victory over the Indy Eleven on Wednesday, Sporting Kansas City II (5-9-1, 16 points) will close out their 2020 USL Championship campaign on Saturday with a visit to Group E winners Louisville City FC (10-3-2, 32 points) at Lynn Family Stadium. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. CT with a live stream on ESPN Plus and additional in-game updates available via Twitter at @SportingKCII.
Already eliminated from playoff contention, head coach Paulo Nagamura’s side delivered a spirited performance on Wednesday at Lucas Oil Stadium to prevent Indy Eleven from clinching the second and final playoff spot in Group E. Twenty-year-old striker Wilson Harris bagged his team-best eighth goal of the campaign in the 41st minute to give Sporting KC II a halftime lead, only for Andrew Carleton to restore parity for the hosts four minutes after the restart. The contest remained delicately poised and was ultimately decided in the 95th minute when, just nine minutes into his professional debut, 17-year-old substitute Bailey Sparks fired home a brilliant goal to give Sporting KC II all three points.
Harris has been an unmistakable bright spot for a spirited Sporting KC II side that has played 14 of 16 regular season matches away from home. Fellow Sporting KC Academy products Jake Davis and Kaveh Rad have also shouldered influential roles for the club, while winger Fredinho Mompremier, defensive midfielder Petar Cuic and defender Dillon Serna have all chipped in three goals apiece. Despite playing nearly every game away from home, Sporting KC II has suffered just three multi-goal losses this season as an organized and resolute outfit.
Under the guidance of head coach John Hackwork, Louisville enters Saturday’s regular season finale in red-hot form. The two-time league champions and three-time defending Eastern Conference champions are 8-0-2 since the start of August, having won five on the trot. Englishman Cameron Lancaster sits atop the team's goal chart with nine, with Corben Bone (five goals) and Devon Williams (four goals) also providing an attacking punch.
Saturday will mark the fourth meeting between the clubs this season at the new Lynn Family Stadium. Louisville emerged with a 1-0 triumph on July 25 behind Lancaster's strike, but Sporting KC II exacted revenge four days later as Harris and Dominik Resetar found the back of the net in a 2-1 victory. The most recent meeting on Aug. 19 saw Louisville run out comfortable winners, as Lancaster, Bone and Napo Matsoso struck to seal a 4-1 result in which Sam Raben opened his Sporting KC II scoring account.
Sporting KC II and Louisville notably met in the 2017 USL Cup Final, which was the first of two consecutive league championships for the Kentucky club. Louisville nearly won a third straight league title last fall but fell to Real Monarchs in the championship match.
USL Championship: Match 16 of 16
Date: Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020
Kickoff: 6:30 p.m. CT
Location: Lynn Family Stadium (Louisville, Kentucky)
Live Stream: ESPN Plus
Sporting Kansas City II: 5-9-1, 16 points (4th place in Group E; eliminated from playoff contention)
Louisville City FC: 10-3-2, 32 points (1st place in Group E; clinched playoff berth)