Following their third straight road victory, Sporting KC II (5-5-2, 17 points) returns to Rock Chalk Park for a Friday night matchup under the lights against St Louis City2 (7-2-2, 24 points) as MLS NEXT Pro's Game of the Week. The match will receive an enhanced stream, will kick off at 7 p.m. CT and can be streamed for free at MLSNEXTPro.com.
Last Saturday, Benny Feilhaber rotated the squad at Houston Dynamo 2, playing an entirely different starting eleven than SKC II's match against MNUFC 2 on June 4. Sporting KC Academy product Draven Barnett made his first professional start, Josh Coan made his first start for SKC II, Rauf Salifu scored his second goal in as many matches and John Pulskamp made six saves en route to an SKC II 1-0 victory at PNC Stadium.
HIGHLIGHTS: Houston Dynamo 2 vs. Sporting KC II | June 11, 2022
After a slow start, Feilhaber and SKC II have rounded into form, earning five results in their last six matches. The boys have been resilient all season, earning eight points from a losing position, and not dropping any points from a winning position.
Julian Vazquez has led the charge for SKC II's offense, accumulating five goal contributions by netting two goals and tallying three assists. Salifu has typically played the number nine role and has found the back of the net in back-to-back matches. He has converted two penalties for his two goals and has one assist to his name.
The midfield is headlined by team captain Collin Fernandez who ranks second in MLS NEXT Pro in minutes played. He is the only SKC II player to appear in every match and has one goal along with three assists. Joining Fernandez in the midfield has been a bevy of players. Cade Thomson has started six of eight appearances, assisting on two goals. Curtez Kellman has made nine appearances, slotting in nicely at the holding midfield position.
The backline has been a revolving door of talented players this season. Jahon Rad leads the defense with 11 starts and 969 minutes played. At centerback, he has been joined by Esai Easley and Cole McLagan who each has one goal apiece. Mikey Lenis and Coby Jones, both former Sporting KC Academy players who signed professional contracts this season, have fit in nicely on the wings of the defense. Spencer Glass has provided veteran leadership to SKC II after four standout seasons at Indiana University. He played in Sporting KC's U.S. Open Cup Round of 32 match against FC Dallas as well.
A well-balanced SKC II side that has begun to heat up welcomes bordering club St Louis City2 to Rock Chalk Park for a second time this season. St Louis got the better of SKC II in their first meeting, leaving Lawrence with a 1-0 victory. They are currently planted in second place in the Frontier Division, occupying the third of four playoff spots.
John Hackworth's side is led by Josh Dolling who has six goals and three assists this season. He is accompanied by former Sporting Kansas City player Wan Kuzain. The Sporting KC Academy product has two goals and three assists in his first season with City2.
The second match in a blossoming rivalry between SKC II and STL City2 is set for Friday night on MLSNEXTPro.com. Fans can purchase tickets for the contest at SeatGeek.com as SKC II looks to keep their momentum going in the inaugural MLS NEXT Pro campaign.
MLS NEXT Pro: Match 13
Date: Friday, June 17
Kickoff: 7 p.m. CT
Location: Rock Chalk Park (Lawrence, Kansas)
Live Stream: mlsnextpro.com
Sporting Kansas City II: 5-5-2, 17 points
St Louis City2: 7-2-2, 24 points
Match-specific hashtag:r #SKCvSTL