Sporting Kansas City II (4-4-2, 15 points) suffered a 1-0 loss against Real Monarchs (4-6-0, 12 points) Friday night at Rock Chalk Park in Lawrence, KS. An own goal in the 31st minute after a cluster in the box proved to be the only score of the match, ending in Sporting KC II's first defeat in the month of May.
Head coach Benny Feilhaber made five changes to the side that took home a point from a match in St. Louis last Sunday. Four first-team loanees cracked the starting XI including Robert Voloder and Danny Flores as well as goal scorers from the CITY2 match, Cam Duke and Ozzie Cisneros. Ethan Bandre tended net and took his first defeat of 2023. Captain Jahon Rad, Mo Abualnadi and Lucas Rosa re-entered the starting XI, joining Voloder on the back four. Enzo Mauriz played in the midfield alongside Flores and Cisneros and Pau Vidal and Andrew Draper played up top with Duke.
SKC II tried to jump out in front early when Vidal was hacked down along the right sideline seconds into the match. Mauriz served up an inswinger from the sideline that would have found its target on the back post if it was not for the head of the final Monarchs defender. Seven minutes later, a similar ball with Draper the target connected on the back post. The winger redirected it on frame where it was headed over the endline by his mark.
On the ensuing corner, some trickeration was snuffed out by the visitors before Duke latched onto a volley at the top of the area, sending the ball over the target. Real Monarchs' first offensive move came on a free kick on the left side of the SKC II box. The wall blocked the initial ball before popping it high into the air. Voloder was interfered with on the way up bringing a close to that sequence.
In the 22nd Duke attempted to pick out Cisnero's run into the final third with a clever diagonal ball. The forward's pass to the midfielder was knocked away in the knick of time by a retreating defender resulting in a corner that was handled. A foul near midfield was quickly restarted by SKC II moments later and Duke was played in over the top of the defense, into the 18. The first teamer cut the ball back to Vidal who ripped a shot that was blocked away.
The 31st yielded the match's only goal when a cross into the area redirected off Rosa's foot and into his net. SKC II would go on the attack for the final hour as the match opened up, but nothing was doing for the hosts. Another Mauriz inswinger crossed up the keeper, Fernando Delgado, however, he recovered in time to punch the cross away. Delgado then fell on a Vidal header and denied Draper as the first half came to a close.
Feilhaber went to his bench on the other side of the break, bringing on 2023 MLS SuperDraft First Rounder Stephen Afrifa for his SKC II debut and midfielder Ethan Bryant for Draper and Mauriz. Five minutes into the half Duke took the first crack at goal of the second. He pump-faked once at the top of the box, then fired one into traffic and out for another corner.
A little over 10 minutes into the second, Sebastian Cruz came on for Duke. A minute later, Flores put his body on the line to block a shot from close range with his face. In the 65th Alenis Vargas came on for Abualnadi and nearly leveled the match in his 25 minutes on the pitch. In the 68th he split the defense with a brilliant through ball to Vidal. The forward was unable to get a shot off after a terrific defensive effort from Real Monarchs.
Four minutes later, Vargas put on a dribbling clinic, leaving defenders in his dust left and right. He squared up with the keeper, chipped the ball over his head and watched as it doinked off the far post and away, inches from the equalizer. SKC II was unable to muster another chance on goal. The match turned into a sprint with end-to-end action but neither side could find the back of the net.
With the defeat tonight, SKC II's three-match unbeaten run comes to a close. The team will now head to Vancouver for a match with Pacific Division front-runners Whitecaps FC 2. The match is set for Friday, June 2 at 9 p.m. CT at Swangard Stadium on Apple TV. Fans can catch all the action on MLS Season Pass or follow @SprotingKCII on Twitter.
2023 MLS NEXT Pro | Match 10
Rock Chalk Park | Lawrence, KS
Weather: 78 degrees and sunny
Sporting KC II
Sporting Kansas City II: Ethan Bandre; Lucas Rosa, Jahon Rad (Nassim Mekideche 76'), Robert Voloder, Mo Abualnadi (Alenis Vargas 65'); Enzo Mauriz (Ethan Bryant 46'), Danny Flores, Ozzie Cisneros; Cam Duke (Sebastian Cruz 56'), Pau Vidal, Andrew Draper (Stephen Afrifa 46')
Subs Not Used: Carlito Saylon, Nati Clarke, Josh Coan, Mikey Lenis,
Real Monarchs: Fernando Delgado; Amferny Arias, Omar Alba, Bobby Pierre, Marcus Vazquez (Luis Rivera 56'); Gernnaro Nigro, Griffin Dillon, Gilberto Garcia (Terron Williams 81'), Jude Wellings, Julian Vazquez; Moses Nyeman
Subs Not Used: Derrek Chan, Abokye Bikyeombe, Gershon Henry, Duncan Jarvie, Seth Powder
SLC – Lucas Rosa (own goal) 31'
SLC – Jude Wellings (reckless offense; yellow card) 30'SKC – Mo Abualnadi (tactical foul; yellow card) 39'
SLC – Amferny Arias (reckless offense; yellow card) 41'SLC – Gennaro Nigro (reckless offense; yellow card) 70'
SKC – Danny Flores (reckless offense; yellow card) 75'
Shots on Goal
Referee: Corbyn May
Assistant Referee: Colin Ashley
Assistant Referee: Kendall McCardell
Fourth Official: Kyle Armstrong