Sporting Kansas City II (0-1-1, 2 points) will be back at Rock Chalk Park on Sunday to welcome Los Angeles Football Club 2 (0-1-1, 1 point) to Lawrence, KS for the two sides' first-ever meeting. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m. CT, tickets are available for purchase at SeatGeek.com and the match will air live on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV. Both Sporting KC II and LAFC 2 are coming off matches that went to a shootout, however, SKC II earned the extra point against Austin FC II, and LAFC 2 dropped their shootout to WFC2.
Head coach Benny Feilhaber trotted out a starting XI with four first-team loanees including Chris Rindov who made his professional debut Sunday after an accolade-studded four years at the University of Maryland. Cam Duke and Jake Davis made their first 2023 SKC II appearance and Ozzie Cisneros earned his first start after coming on as a second-half substitute against Rapids 2 in the season opener.
Goalkeeper Ethan Bandre made his 2023 debut, making the save that led to SKC II's goal. The Kansas native followed that save up with another brilliant block in the shootout to help guide SKC II to a win. Lucas Rosa, Nassim Mekideche, Josh Coan, Sebastian Cruz, Bakary Bagayoko and Amadou Traore all earned their second starts of 2023 against ATX II.
The back-and-forth affair with Austin last Sunday finally saw the deadlock broken midway through the second half when Andrew Draper dribbled from the defensive third all the way to Austin's 18-yard box. The forward slipped a pass to Pau Vidal who tucked his first goal in Sporting Blue home. After Austin leveled and held onto the draw, all four of SKC II's kick takers sank their kicks from the spot in the shootout.
Following the shootout win, Sporting KC II added two new players this week acquiring Honduran forwards Keny Martinez and Alenis Vargas on loan from Costa Rican side Fútbol Consultants Desamparados for the 2023 season. The two forwards join fellow Honduran Yeison Mejia in the SKC II front three.
Coan has emerged as the team captain in the new season, wearing the armband in back-to-back matches. He picked up an assist in the first match, teeing up Mekideche on a set piece. Rosa has earned consecutive starts and is one of two players to play all 180 minutes alongside former Sporting KC Academy player Cruz.
LAFC 2 enters Sunday on the hunt for their first win as a club after entering MLS NEXT Pro ahead of this season. In their first match, they slipped to a 1-0 loss at 2022 playoff participants North Texas SC. In their second match, after jumping out to a one-goal advantage, they let the lead slip and lost in a shootout at home against Vancouver.
LAFC 2 is led by Enrique Duran. The Spanish coach joins the Black and Gold second team after managing the Las Vegas Lights in 2022. Erik Duenas has the lone LAFC 2 goal this year. The midfielder dispossessed the Whitecaps 2 keeper in the area and passed the ball into the empty net.
MLS NEXT Pro: Match 3
Date: Sunday, April 9, 2023
Kickoff: 5 p.m. CT
Location: Rock Chalk Park (Lawrence, KS)
Match-specific hashtag: #SKCvLAFC