Sporting Kansas City II (5-4-4, 21 points) is set to take on North Texas SC (5-6-4, 19 points) at Rock Chalk Park on Sunday, June 25 in the first-ever Sporting KC II Bark at the Park. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. CT and tickets are on sale at SeatGeek.com. Fans planning on bringing their dogs must fill out this waiver before attending the match.
SKC II faced North Texas SC on three occasions in the inaugural MLS NEXT Pro season a year ago. Head coach Benny Feilhaber and his side took one of those three matches by way of a 4-2 victory at home in which forward Rauf Salifu scored four goals in the 90-minute contest, a club record for most goals scored in a single match. North Texas took the other two meetings.
In the past two months, coach Feilhaber and his side have found steady form, earning six results in their last seven matches. Dating back to May 5, Sporting KC II has a record of 3-1-3 including a win in their previous match, a 2-0 victory of LAFC2 on the road.
In Sporting KC II's triumph over LAFC2 on Sunday midfielders Ethan Bryant and Josh Coan found the back of the net. Coan's came in the 17th minute after the team captain earned a penalty for the visitors and subsequently sank the kick from the spot. Bryant capped off a brilliant team goal that started with goalkeeper Ethan Bandre. The ball was worked up the field with precision before Sporting KC Academy player Nati Clarke connected with Bryant at the top of the box. The Texas native poked a shot past the keeper into the far corner of the goal for his third score of the campaign.
Bryant is tied for second on the team in goals scored with first-team loanee Ozzie Cisnoers. The duo fall in order behind forward Pau Vidal and his seven scores. Vidal's last goal came against Tacoma after the Spaniard started the season by scoring in six straight matches. Vidal's seven strikes place him tied for fourth in MLS NEXT Pro.
Along with Cisneros, Danny Flores has been a key contributor as a first-team loanee. Flores has started six of ten appearances tallying one goal. Fellow first-teamer and 2023 MLS SuperDraft selection Chris Rindov has found his footing with the second team as well, appearing in seven matches and starting three straight. In the club's last home match, seven first team members started. Stephen Afrifa, Felipe Hernandez and John Pulskamp made their first SKC II starts this season while Cisneros, Flores and Rindov were rejoined by Cam Duke.
SKC II's back four has found a consistent group these past three times out. Right back Lucas Rosa, who leads the team in matches played (13), starts (12) and minutes (1098), has been joined by Clarke on the left side of the back four, Rindov in the middle and Nassim Mekideche alongside him. That quartet has one win and two draws along with a shootout win against Tacoma. Defender Mo Abualnadi is back from national team duty after leading the Jordan U-23s to the West Asia Championship semifinals, scoring twice.
North Texas SC head coach Javier Cano, in his first season at the helm, has the FC Dallas second team in the basement of the Frontier Division but just two points of the playoff line. They have suffered two straight defeats after a stretch of five straight results.
On the field, forwards Hope Avayevu and Jose Mulato pace the North Texas offense. Avayevu has four goals and Mulato has six goal contributions (three goals, three assists). Goalkeepers Antonio Carrera and Julian Eyestone have split time in goal this season, both playing seven matches. Carrera has 25 saves and Eyeston has 27.
MLS NEXT Pro: Match 14
Date: Sunday, June 25, 2023
Kickoff: 6 p.m. CT
Location: Rock Chalk Park (Lawrence, KS)
Watch: MLS Season Pass – Apple TV
Match-specific hashtag: #SKCvNTX