Sporting KC II (8-11-2, 23 points) slipped to a 1-0 loss on the road to the Tacoma Defiance (13-4-4, 46 points) at Starfire Stadium on Saturday night. Despite a solid defensive effort that held the most potent offense in MLS NEXT Pro to just one goal, the road warriors of SKC II were unable to grab a point. Ethan Bandre made a fourth start making four saves on the night.

Head Coach Benny Feilhaber changed tactics, playing Jake Davis as a right-wingback with Nati Clarke on the opposite side. Esai Easley, Kaveh Rad and Jahon Rad held down the middle of the backline. Collin Fernandez and Curtez Kellman rejoined the starting XI and slid into the midfield alongside Josh Coan. Rauf Salifu started again as well with Guy Michaeli his counterpart at forward.

Tacoma took the ball downfield immediately off the whistle and settled into the match with a corner. The service was headed upfield, allowing Coan to give chase before having the ball blasted back into the SKC II defensive third.

Two minutes later, Fernandez teed up a free kick and played it into the area where Tacoma cleared. SKC II retained possession and cycled the ball around the field but were unable to break the Defiance lines. The hosts counted but SKC II retreated well repelling the advance.

Bandre intervened for the first time, diving into the middle of the area to snag a ball. K. Rad then got involved in the 18-yard-box, tracking back to cut off a centering pass with his head. Randy Mendoza got on the end of the clearance and ripped a shot wide of goal on one bounce.

A minute later another Tacoma attempt produced a similar result off the foot of Georgi Minoungou's foot, flying wide. The match's first yellow card was produced in the 16th. Bandre picked off a free kick and played Salifu forward. He got hammered down by Ethan Dobbelaere and the Tacoma midfielder was brandished a yellow. Five minutes later Minoungou was booked after delaying a restart.

Wallis Lapsley made one of his few involvements, getting his hands on a through ball and backed that up with his one and only save of the night in the 25th. Davis played a delicious ball into the box that Salifu got on the end of. The forward redirected the cross on target but Lapsley was positioned well to make the save in the middle of the goal.

A pair of Defiance shots sailed over the target, the first off a curling chance from Minoungou and the second a headed corner. Bandre then made a sublime save, dropping to his right quickly to block a header from close range. Halftime came with neither side finding the back of the net.

The second half began with SKC II winning the first corner of the 45. Fernandez's corner was sent into the box and instantly touched away. Bandre made his second save by diving to his left to stop a rolled effort. In the 56th Tacoma thought they had taken the lead but the goal was called off with an offside flag waving in the air.

Davis was given SKC II's first yellow card in the 58th and Bandre made another save when he held strong on the line to deny a cheeky backheeled attempt from up close. Feilhaber made a pair of attack-minded swaps bringing on Julian Vazquez and Josip Hmura for Rauf Salifu and Guy Michaeli.

SKC II's second corner of the half came in the 69th minute as Fernandez offered another ball into the box. Lapsley slapped the ball back to SKC II and they kept possession before Tacoma won it back. Three minutes later and Hmura earned SKC II a set piece in the final third leading to another Lapsley catch inside the six.

Moments later the Tacoma keeper spilled a restart off the foot of Fernandez but was able to gather the ball on the ground as the SKC II runners began to surround him. The hosts grabbed the lead in the 78th on a setpiece pass from second half sub Juan Alvarez to fellow substitute Hal Uderitz.

SKC II tried to find the leveler with a lofted ball from Vazquez and a free kick at midfield, both coming up empty. Mikey Lenis entered in the 85th and Nati Clarke came on a minute later for Clarke and Fernandez as Tacoma held strong, keeping the clean sheet.

With the defeat tonight, SKC II are eliminated from playoff contention and Tacoma are looking to the Earthquakes II match against Colorado to see if they have clinched the Pacific Division crown. SKC II will conclude the inaugural MLS NEXT Pro season with back-to-back home matches at Children's Mercy Victory Field before taking on St Louis City2 in St Louis on Decision Day.

The first of the final two home matches is set for Sunday, Aug. 28 against Earthquakes II at 5 p.m. CT. Tickets are on sale at SeatGeek.com and fans can watch the match in its entirety at MLSNEXTPro.com.

2022 MLS NEXT Pro | Match 21
Starfire Stadium | Tukwila, Wa
Weather: 78 degrees

Sporting KC II 0-1 Tacoma Defiance
Sporting KC II
Tacoma Defiance

Sporting Kansas City II: Ethan Bandre; Esai Easley, Kaveh Rad, Jahon Rad, Nati Clarke (Mikey Lenis 85'); Curtez Kellman, Collin Fernandez (Edgar Bazan 86'), Jake Davis; Josh Coan, Guy Michaeli (Josip Hmura 62'), Rauf Salifu (Julian Vazquez 62')*
Subs Not Used:
* Carlito Saylon, Matthew Fisher, Spencer Glass, Coby Jones, Ryan Reid

Tacoma Defiance: Wallis Lapsley; Cody Baker, Jackson Ragen (Achille Robin 45'), Abdoulaye Cissoko, Randy Mendoza; Georgi Minoungou (Juan Alvarez 74'), Joshua Atencio (Travian Sousa 45'), Ethan Dobbelaere (Hal Uderitz 68'), Marlon Vargas, Dylan Teves (Valentin Sabella 80'); Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez
Subs Not Used: Levi Bieber, Reed Baker-Whiting, Alfred Gombe-Fei, Joe Hafferty

Scoring Summary:
Hal Uderitz 1 (Juan Alvarez 1) 78'

Misconduct Summary:
Ethan Dobbelaere (yellow card; unsporting conduct) 16'
TAC – Georgi Minoungou (yellow card; delaying a restart) 21'
SKC – Jake Davis (yellow card; dissent) 59'
TAC – Travian Sousa (yellow card; unsporting conduct) 88'

Match Statistics
Shots on Goal
Corner Kicks

Referee: Kelsey Harms
Assistant Referee: Jeremy Davis
Assistant Referee: Hunter Zachwieja
Fourth Official: Christopher Calderon