Sporting Kansas City II (4-3-1, 14 points) scored twice late against LA Galaxy II (1-6-1, 5 points), erasing a one-goal deficit and earning the club their second straight win. After conceding just two minutes into the match, Danny Flores scored his Sporting goal in the 72 before Pau Vidal netted the match-winner 20 minutes later in stoppage time.
In the 90 minutes contest against LA Galaxy II, SKC II conceded first for the first time all season but proved they have the ability to come back, taking all three points.
Head coach Benny Feilhaber rolled out a familiar lineup with a front three of Vidal, Sebastian Cruz and Andrew Draper. There was one change in the midfield and one change on the backline from the previous match as Flores was joined by fellow first-teamer Ozzie Cisneros and Josh Coan slotted back into the XI. Lucas Rosa and Nati Clarke were the fullbacks with Jahon Rad re-entering at centerback alongside Mo Abualnaid. Ethan Bandre tended goal and earned his third victory of the season.
LA grabbed the early lead just two minutes into the match when Ruben Ramos settled a ball in the 18 and curled it into the back of the net for his first goal of 2023. Adrian Gonzalez, who played the ball in from the right sideline picked up his first assist as well.
For the remainder of the match, SKC II would be on the front foot, pressing high and earning numerous chances. SKC II outshot LA 26 to nine on the night and had 3.85 expected goals to LA's 0.89. The first real chance came off Vidal's head on the cusp of the 10-minute mark when a headed effort off a Cruz cross drifted off target. Rad then made a crucial block in the defensive third keeping SKC II down just a goal.
Draper was then played into space behind the Galaxy II back four, however, his effort on goal could not beat the keeper as he was unable to muster enough power on it due to the oncoming defender. Coan nearly beat the keeper, Simon Jillson, in the 19 after the ball pinged around the box. Vidal then found himself in space and chipped the ball over the keeper and inches past the far post.
the top chance of the first half came in the 36th when Cruz attempted to tuck a shot into the far corner of the goal. The SKC Academy product torched Jillson but barely pulled his shot wide of the mark. The pressure was relieved for LA only by the ref's halftime whistle.
Coming back out for the second, Feilhaber placed Ethan Bryant and Cam Duke into the match for Coan and Draper. Flores nearly leveled the match right off the whistle when he met a corner in midair and headed the ball over the crossbar. Abualnaid got involved in the offensive third by getting on the end of a corner at the top of the area and forcing Jillson into a save.
In the 66th Cruz again went unlucky. Vidal and Cisneros linked up well and generated space for Cruz in the 18. The winger's shot just missed the target and rolled into the side netting. Bryant then sent a free kick just over the top of the goal from 30 yards out in the 70th.
Nassim Mekideche entered the contest in the 72nd, bringing an end to Abualnadi's day. In that same minute, Flores struck for SKC II. After a set piece from the right sideline was defended by LA, Rad spread the ball back out wide to Bryant. The midfielder's initial cross was blocked out to the top of the area where Flores sent it back from where it came and into the goal.
With the score deadlocked at one, the match opened up again. Flores was replaced by Enzo Mauriz in the 79th and LA attempted to crack the back four for the first time since the second minute. Unable to do so, SKC II began to launch their assault on the Galaxy II defense. Alenis Vargas entered for Cruz in the 86th and three minutes in fired a shot over the goal after a nifty move to cut inside the center backs.
As we entered stoppage time, the crosses kept coming up empty for SKC II as they had for most of the night. Finally, in the 92+' minute of the match, Rosa split Vargas out wide, the winger rolled the ball onto this right foot and sent a near-perfect ball into the six. Vidal rose above the pack and beat Jillson to the ball right on the goal line, giving SKC II their first lead of the night.
LA had one final trick up their sleeve, dumping 10 men into the box on a setpiece. SKC II clutched up, defended the numerous headed efforts and Clarke boomed the ball down the field as the ref blew for full-time. SKC II takes home all three points from the match and has won back-to-back matches. They will continue their MLS NEXT Pro regular season run with a trip to St. Louis CITY SC on Sunday, May 21. Fans can catch the match on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV or follow @SportingKCII on Twitter for live updates throughout the contest.
2023 MLS NEXT Pro | Match 8
Rock Chalk Park | Lawrence, KS
Weather: 84 degrees and cloudy
Sporting KC II
LA Galaxy II
Sporting Kansas City II: Ethan Bandre; Lucas Rosa, Jahon Rad, Mo Abualnadi (Nassim Mekideche 72'), Nati Clarke; Danny Flores (Enzo Mauriz 79'), Ozzie Cisneros Josh Coan (Ethan Bryant 46'); Sebastian Cruz (Alenis Vargas 86'), Pau Vidal, Andrew Draper (Cam Duke 46')
Subs Not Used: Mikey Lenis, Keny Martinez, Yeison Mejia
LA Galaxy II: Simon Jillson; Allan Legaspi, Carson Klein, Ascel Essengue, Riley Delgado; Adrian Gonzalez, Brandon Tellez (Nicolas Schelotto 80'), Juan Calderon (Sergio Villalpando 66'), Axel Picazo (Alex Alcala 46'), Ruben Ramos (Elijah Amadin 66'); Aaron Bibout
Subs Not Used: Aaron Cervantes, Brendan Bell, Javier Zapien
LA – Ruben Ramos 1 (Adrian Gonzalez 1) 2'
SKC – Danny Flores 1 (unassisted) 72'
SKC – Pau Vidal 6 (Alenis Vargas 1) 90+2'
LA – Ascel Essengue (yellow card; reckless offense) 34'*
LA – Adrian Gonzalez (yellow card; reckless offense) 61'
SKC –* Enzo Mauriz (yellow card; reckless offense) 83'
SKC – Pau Vidal (yellow card; excessive celebration) 90+3'
Shots on Goal