Fresh off an electrifying home win, Sporting KC II (6-6-2, 20 points) is back on the road for a clash with Colorado Rapids 2 (4-8-2, 15 points) at the University of Denver Soccer Stadium on Sunday, July 10. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. and the match can be streamed at MLSNEXTPro.com for free.
Last Saturday, head Benny Feilhaber and SKC II turned to forward Rauf Salifu in a home test against Frontier Division front-runners North Texas SC. Salifu became the first player in both SKC II and MLS NEXT Pro history to score four goals, and netted the fastest hat-trick in MLS NEXT Pro, scoring three goals in 15 minutes of gameplay. First-team loanee John Pulskamp was the lone loanee and made eight crucial saves to keep SKC II on top in their final 2022 match at Rock Chalk Park.
Salifu's four-goal outing gave him a team-high six goals. He has also added one assist this season. Fellow forward Julian Vazquez has found the back of the net three times but also has tallied three assists, giving him six total goal contributions, the second-most on the team behind Salifu's seven.
Guy Michaeli came on as a sub in the match against North Texas, setting up two of Salifu's goals to earn both his first and second professional assists. He has found the back of the net once this year in eight appearances.
In the midfield, captain Collin Fernandez leads the club in minutes played (1148), and assists (four). He is the only SKC II played to appear in every match and has provided terrific veteran leadership, day in and day out. Recently, Josh Coan has found his form, earning three consecutive starts and picking up an assist against St Louis two matches ago.
The backline has been a focal point for first-year assistant coach Ike Opara. The former MLS Best XI defender has seen a solid lineup of centerbacks including Jahon Rad, Esai Easley and Cole McLagan. Rad has been a leader on this team all season long playing the second-most minutes of any player. Easley, in his rookie season, has scored a goal and begun to find his footing in the professional world. McLagan has donned the captain's armband in two of SKC II's previous three matches and stepped up in key spots on the backline.
Erik Bushey's Rapids 2 side currently finds themselves in the basement of the Frontier Division. In the previous SKC II matchup against Rapids 2, TJ Fatah leveled the match in the 79th before Colorado took an extra point away in a shootout. Since that match on the MLS NEXT Pro opening weekend, Darren Yapi has been the frontman for Rapids 2. The forward has a team-high four goals in eleven appearances.
MLS NEXT Pro: Match 15
Date: Friday, July 10
Kickoff: 7 p.m. CT
Location: University of Denver Soccer Stadium (Denver, CO)
Live Stream: mlsnextpro.com
Sporting Kansas City II: 6-6-2, 20 points
Colorado Rapids 2: 4-8-2, 15 points
Match-specific hashtag:r #COLvSKC