Sporting Kansas City II

SKC II Match Preview: Sporting KC II hosts St. Louis CITY2 at Rock Chalk Park on Sunday in first meeting of 2024


Sporting Kansas City II (1-1-0, 3 points) renews its rivalry with St. Louis CITY2 (0-1-1, 1 point) on Sunday evening at Rock Chalk Park. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. CT as the two sides duel it out for the first time in 2024. Tickets for the first of three meetings between the foes are on sale for just $10 at The match will also stream live on both and the MLS YouTube channel.

The two sides last met on MLS NEXT Pro Decision Day at Swope Soccer Village last September. After a late goal from Robert Voloder, SKC II sank St. Louis in kicks from the spot to secure the third seed in the Western Conference and a home match in the MLS NEXT Pro Western Conference Quarterfinals. The last three meetings between SKC II and CITY2 have gone to a shootout.

SKC II boss Benny Feilhaber's squad is looking to bounce back after dropping their home opener against Ventura County SC last Sunday at Rock Chalk Park. This came after the club earned a 2-1 comeback victory at Houston Dynamo 2 to open the season, striking twice after the 80th minute off the feet of Beto Avila and Pau Vidal.

Picking up right where he left off in 2023, Vidal leads SKC II in goals early in the season with scores in back-to-back matches. Vidal fired home the match-winner against Houston and found the back of the net late in the match against Ventura. A season ago, the forward netted 11 goals. Midfielder Ethan Bryant, who has taken on the captain's role in both matches this season, racked up eight goals and three assists last year.

Forward Sebastian Cruz was a stalwart in Feilhaber's system last year, playing on the wing and providing five goals and two assists. He has played every minute in the same spot this season, ripping two shots on target, one of which was redirected to Avila for the equalizer against Dynamo Dos. Avila is a newcomer to Sporting after playing for the Dynamo first team. He has started both matches this season as Kansas City's number nine.

Sporting KC II's 15 rostered players have been joined by a trio of talented Academy players. Leading the charge have been defender Ian James, midfielder Johann Ortiz and holding mid Cielo Tschantret. James, a 15-year-old center back earned his first pro start against Ventura County while Ortiz tallied his first professional assist, setting up a Vidal score late in the contest. 

Tschantret has made eight career pro appearances, netting two goals and earning MLS NEXT Rising Star of Matchday 24 in 2023 and has played all 180 MLS NEXT Pro minutes in 2024.

Also representing Sporting KC's historic academy is defender Nati Clarke. The Topeka native signed his first professional deal in December after playing two MLS NEXT Pro seasons on amateur contracts. He has played every minute thus far this season, starting at both left back and right back. The defender has been joined in the defensive third for all 180 minutes by first-teamers Chris Rindov and goalkeeper Ryan Schewe.

St. Louis CITY2 began play in 2022, a year ahead of their first team. They lost in the MLS NEXT Pro Cup final in their inaugural season and suffered a Western Conference Quarterfinal defeat in their next go-around. They are led by head coach Bobby Murphy in his first season in charge of CITY2.

This season they have lost at home to Colorado Rapids 2 and earned a point at home against North Texas SC. Their shootout with the FC Dallas affiliates saw them lose 9-8 and only take one point away. Sunday marks their first road test of 2024 after they earned nine results in 14 road matches last year.

Sporting KC II and St. Louis CITY2 write their next chapter in a now three-year rivalry on Sunday at Rock Chalk Park. The two clubs will then meet again at CITYPARK in June before returning to Rock Chalk Park a month after that. Sunday's rendition can be streamed for free at or the MLS YouTube.

Match Information:

MLS NEXT Pro: Matchweek 3
Date: Sunday, March 31, 2024
Kickoff: 4 p.m. CT
Location: Rock Chalk Park (Lawrence, Kansas)


Match-specific hashtag: #SKCvSTL

Instagram: @stlcity2