Sporting Kansas City II (1-1-1, 5 points) is back on the road to take on Western Conference opponents Real Monarchs (1-2-0, 3 points) at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman, UT in a Friday night MLS NEXT Pro regular season matchup. Fresh off consecutive home results against Austin FC II and LAFC 2, Sporting KC II is looking for their first road result after suffering a 1-0 defeat in their lone road match at Rapids 2 in the first match of the 2023 season. Kickoff is set for 9 p.m. CT and for a fourth consecutive week, the match can be streamed on MLS SEASON PASS on Apple TV.
Head coach Benny Feilhaber and his team have been terrific at starting matches on the right foot, scoring first in all three of their matches so far. The last SKC II starting XI featured a season-high six first-team loanees. Kendall McIntosh returned to the goal with Chris Rindov and Cam Duke playing in front of him in the defensive third alongside Lucas Rosa and Jahon Rad. An all-first-team midfield featured Jake Davis, Danny Flores and goalscorer Ozzie Cisneros. Andrew Draper and Sebastian Cruz played on the wings with Pau Vidal manning the nine.
Last Sunday, Vidal netted his team-best second goal of the season, finding the back of the net in the sixth minute against LAFC 2. The Spanish forward has now scored in back-to-back matches after burying the ball in the back of the net against ATX II. Rosa picked up his first professional assist on Vidal's second score, playing a perfect, bouncing cross into the six-yard box for the tall forward to run onto.
Rosa is one of two SKC II players to start every match this year alongside former Sporting KC Academy player Sebastian Cruz. Cruz is the only player to play all 270 minutes this season after Rosa came out for the final minute of stoppage time against LAFC 2. In just three matches, 23 different players have featured for Feilhaber's squad.
Jahon Rad, who has earned minutes in all three of SKC II's matches donned the captain's armband for the group in the match against LAFC 2. In the team's first two matches, Josh Coan took on the role of captain and picked up an assist in the first match against Rapids 2, teeing up Nassim Mekideche's goal.
Real Monarchs, the second-team affiliate of Real Salt Lake, began the season with back-to-back losses. After dropping their opening match against MNUFC 2 3-0 they were soundly defeated 5-0 by Tacoma Defiance a week later. In a bounce-back performance, they then knocked off Earthquakes II 1-0 at PayPal Park to claim their first win of the season.
Their lone goal scorer on the year is forward Terron Williams whose 75th-minute finish proved to be the difference maker in Real Monarchs' last time on the pitch. Friday's hosts are led by Jamison Olave, who has been at the helm of Real Monarchs since 2019. In his team's first year in MLS NEXT Pro, Olave and SLC posted a 6-14-4 record finishing fourth in the Pacific Division. Currently, they find themselves in fourth once more, five points back of the leading Whitecaps 2.
MLS NEXT Pro: Match 4
Date: Friday, April 14, 2023
Kickoff: 9 p.m. CT
Location: Zions Bank Stadium (Herriman, UT)
Match-specific hashtag: #SLCvSKC