Four days removed from a heartbreaking 4-3 loss at Central Division leaders Louisville City FC, Sporting Kansas City II (4-17-8, 20 points) will return to Children's Mercy Park on Wednesday for their 2021 home finale against Atlanta United 2 (7-12-10, 31 points). The USL Championship clash will kick off at 7 p.m. CT and stream live on ESPN Plus.
Nineteen-year-old midfielder Jake Davis was the star of the show in Saturday's narrow defeat, scoring two excellent goals from long range to punctuate a strong 2021 campaign that has seen the Michigan native shine at the USL Championship level and earn an MLS contract with Sporting's first team. Sporting KC II also received a stunning strike from rookie Jamil Roberts over the weekend as head coach Paulo Nagamura's side turned a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 lead before surrendering two late scores in the seven-goal thriller.
Davis has two goals and a team-leading six assists for Sporting KC II in 2021, while winger Enoch Mushagalusa has a team-best eight goals and is the only player to appear in all 29 USL Championship matches this year. Nagamura has given playing time to a large crop of MLS loanees, Sporting Kansas City Academy products and players under USL Championship contract, and although results have been hard to come by throughout the year, quality performances from the likes of Davis, Mushagalusa, Kayden Pierre, John Pulskamp and Rojay Smith have served as 2021 bright spots.
SKC II and Atlanta are on a collision course for the fourth time this season, with both picking up a win and a draw in the first three meetings. Mushagalusa struck twice in an entertaining 2-2 draw on June 9 and bagged the winner in a 1-0 result on July 10. Atlanta exacted revenge on Aug. 14 at Children's Mercy Park, posting a 4-1 victory with a Phillip Goodrum brace and additional goals from Darwin Matheus and Tyler Wolff, the son of Sporting Legend and current Austin FC head coach Josh Wolff.
Sporting KC II have been eliminated from playoff contention and Atlanta will suffer the same fate if they fail to win on Wednesday night. The top four teams in the Central Division will advance to the USL Championship playoffs, which will see 16 teams compete in a single-elimination bracket during the month of November.
USL Championship: Match 30
Date: Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021
Kickoff: 7 p.m. CT
Location: Children's Mercy Park (Kansas City, Kansas)
Live Stream: ESPN Plus
Sporting Kansas City II: 4-17-8, 20 points (8th place in Central Division)
Atlanta United 2: 7-12-10, 31 points (6th place in Central Division)
Match-specific hashtag: #SKCvATL