Sporting Kansas City II will wrap up their 2023 MLS NEXT Pro regular season with a Decision Day matchup against St. Louis CITY2 on Sunday at Children's Mercy Victory Field at Swope Soccer Village. Tickets for the rivalry reunion are on sale at SeatGeek.com and kids 12 and under will receive free admission. The contest will also be streamed on MLS Season Pass in the Apple TV app.
Both Sporting KC II and CITY2 have locked up spots in the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro playoffs. However, with the exciting new pick-your-opponent plot twist in the postseason, the final match of the regular season could prove highly consequential. SKC II sits a point above St. Louis in the fourth spot of the Western Conference standings. Austin FC II is two points clear of SKC II in third, meaning there is still a chance for Kansas City to climb into that third spot and select their opening-round opponent.
Below is an outline of all of the scenarios that could take place on Decision Day, and what each hypothetical means for SKC II's 2023 postseason.
SKC II finishes third in the Western Conference
With the innovative MLS NEXT Pro rules, Sporting KC II has several opportunities to jump into third place in the Western Conference. They would have to gain two points on Austin FC II and can do so in one of three ways.
- SKC II regulation win and ATX II regulation loss
- SKC II shootout win and ATX II regulation loss
- SKC II regulation win and ATX II shootout loss.
If any of those three scenarios plays out, SKC II would jump the Texas side in the standings and take over third in the Western Conference. With the third place finish comes a few perks. Sporting KC II would get to choose their opponent for the first round of the playoffs after second-place Tacaom Defiance selects their opposition. It would also earn SKC II hosting privileges for the first round of the playoffs.
This scenario is only possible if Austin FC II earns one or fewer points on the road at North Texas SC and SKC II picks up two or more points over St. Louis at home on Sunday.
SKC II finishes fourth in the Western Conference
There could be no change to SKC II's standing on Sunday as the team currently occupies the fourth spot in the Western Conference. There are several ways for SKC II to finish fourth.
- SKC II regulation or shootout win and ATX II regulation or shootout win
- SKC II shootout win and ATX II shootout loss
- SKC II shoot-out loss
Fourth place does not guarantee a home playoff match in the opening round as Tacoma Defiance or Austin FC II could select Sporting KC II as their opponent, forcing the team to go on the road. What fourth place does give SKC II is hosting priority if they are not selected by Tacoma or Austin.
SKC II finishes fifth in the Western Conference
There is only one way for SKC II to finish fifth, thanks to the MLS NEXT Pro standings tiebreakers.
- SKC II loses to St. Louis CITY2
Fifth place is similar to fourth in that it does not guarantee any specific opponent or matchup for the first round of the playoffs. If SKC II or St. Louis is not selected by Tacoma or Austin in this situation, SKC II would go on the road to face CITY2 in the first round.
While many things will remain up in the air after Sunday's Decision Day duel, Sporting KC II will be in the playoffs and will compete in the first round. Dates, times, opponents and venues will be announced at a later date when the first round fixtures are set. Check sportingkc.com/skcii/news/ or follow @SportingKCII on X for more information regarding playoffs and all things SKC II.