Sporting Kansas City II

SKC II Match Preview: Sporting KC II hosts Earthquakes II in massive Western Conference Clash at Rock Chalk Park on Sunday


Sporting Kansas City II (6-5-5, 26 points) will host Earthquakes II ( 6-6-4, 25 points) in a crucial Western Conference six-pointer at Rock Chalk Park on Sunday at 6 p.m. CT. Tickets are on sale at and fans can tune into or catch the action on the MLS YouTube channel. 

Entering Sunday, Sporting KC II lead Earthquakes II by one point in the Western Conference standings. With SKC II currently occupying fifth place in the West and Quakes II holding firm in sixth, this midseason match could prove highly consequential to the MLS NEXT Pro playoff picture.

In the two sides' first meeting this year, SKC II claimed a 2-1 victory at PayPal Park on May 5. Andrew Draper's first half score and Josh Coan's second half penalty kick proved to be enough to propel Kansas City past San Jose and kick started a run of eight results in nine matches for SKC II.

Coming off a 3-1 defeat at Timbers2, SKC II will look to right the ship against San Jose. Against Timbers2, midfielder Ethan Bryant netted his fourth goal of the season, the second most of any player on the team. Setting him up for that goal was winger Alenis Vargas, whose five assists pace the club as well as rank second in MLS NEXT Pro. Both Byant and Vargas have become focal points of a well-balanced SKC II attack. 

Through 17 matches, 14 different players have found the back of the net for Sporting KC II, none more so than forward Pau Vidal. The 21-year-old Spanish striker has nine goals to his name, one off the MLS NEXT Pro Golden Boot leaders. Vidal has yet to score multiple goals in a single match, striking once in nine different matches, while having only made 10 starts this season.

First-team loanees have played a large role for the second team in the last three home contests at Rock Chalk Park. Seven or more first-teamers have played invaluable minutes, contributing five goals and four assists in said matches. Goalkeeper John Pulskamp started all three matches in goal and has earned seven points, winning two shootouts and claiming a 7-1 victory over Whitecaps 2. 

Sporting KC Academy products Ozzie Cisneros, Cam Duke, Felipe Hernandez and Kayden Pierre have seen upticks in minutes lately. Cisneros leads all loanees in appearances (15), starts (12), minutes (1015) and goals (three). Hernandez, SKC II's all-time leader in assists (14), has tallied one goal and one assist in four starts this season.

Earthquakes II rolls into Lawrence in solid form with five results in their last six fixtures. They are coming off a road loss to LAFC2 where the Black and Gold scored twice in the first 21 minutes before hanging on to claim all three points. The Dan DeGeer-led Quakes II have just 18 goals scored this year, tied for second-fewest in the league. Their 16 goal concessions are also tied for the second-fewest in MLS NEXT Pro, trailing only Austin FC II and tied with Conference leaders, Rapids 2. 

Midfielder Eduardo Blancas leads his team in goals scored with four, trailed by forward Rodolfo Castro and San Jose Earthquakes Academy product Will Richmond's three goals. Homegrown goalkeeper Emmanuel Ochoa has been the main starter for Quakes II, cracking the starting XI 11 times, conceding just 13 goals and making 25 saves.

Match Information:

MLS NEXT Pro: Match 17
Date: Sunday, July 16, 2023
Kickoff: 6 p.m. CT
Location: Rock Chalk Park (Lawrence, KS)



Match-specific hashtag: #SKCvSJ

Twitter: @SportingKCII
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Twitter: @EarthquakesII
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