Sporting Kansas City II

SKC II Match Preview: Sporting KC II set to host Chicago Fire II at Swope Soccer Village on Sunday


Sporting Kansas City II (13-7-5, 44 points) returns to Swope Soccer Village on Sunday when they take on Chicago Fire FC II (8-8-9, 37 points) at Children's Mercy Victory Field at 4 p.m. CT. Tickets are on sale at and the match will stream live on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV as Sporting KC II looks to secure a home playoff match after clinching a postseason spot last Sunday.

Sunday will be the first meeting between these two cross-divisional foes. Chicago entered MLS NEXT Pro as a founding member with Sporting KC II a year ago and posted an 8-11-5 record in their first season of existence. They will be looking to lock up a position in the playoffs, needing a win and loss from both NYCFC II and Philadelphia Union II.

In SKC II's last time out, the team dominated LA Galaxy II in the form of a 5-1 win at Dignity Health Sports Park, punching their ticket to the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro Playoffs. Ethan Bryant bagged a second-half brace while Josh Coan contributed four goals, netting the opener and providing three assists. Cam Duke and Pau Vidal added a goal each giving Vidal a team-best 11 on the season.

This season, SKC II has generated one of the most dominant offenses in MLS NEXT Pro, scoring the fourth most goals in the league. They have supplemented that goal-scoring firepower with a formidable defense, boasting the third-best goal differential.

The goals have come from 15 different players from everywhere on the pitch. Vidal paces the club with his 11 while Bryant's seven rank second. Coan is tied for third with six goals scored alongside forward Alenis Vargas. Rightback Lucas Rosa leads all SKC II defenders with three goals scored and picked up his fourth assist of the campaign, teeing up the first goal against Galaxy II.

Coan has seven assists, more than any other SKC II player which is also tied for the most in a season in Sporting KC's second-team history. Vargas has added five assists to his six goals this season. Both Coan and Vargas have started just 12 matches.

Rosa has been the most consistent feature this season, logging the most appearances (25), starts (21) and minutes played (1983). His leftback partner has been Sporting KC Academy player Nati Clarke. The 2023 MLS NEXT All-Star has started 16 of 17 appearances and has two assists to his name. In the centerback role, first-team loanee Chris Rindov is tied with Nassim Mekideche for the most starts in the centerback role with the tandem playing 19 matches each.

In the midst of a four-match win streak, SKC II has seen terrific goalkeeper play from three different keepers. Second-team goalie Ethan Badnre helped SKC II sink Timbers2 6-1 at home before Academy goaltender Carlito Saylon picked up his first professional win at Austin FC II. Sandwiched between those two matches was Homegrown John Pulskamp's third SKC II win of 2023 in a clean-sheet performance against MNUFC 2. He was also in net for last week's win at LA. 

Ozzie Cisneros has been the most frequent first-teamer to appear for SKC II in 2023, playing 24 matches. He has tallied three goals, tied with Duke for most amongst first-teamers, and two assists, tied with Danny Flores for second most amongst loanees. Flores has 19 appearances in his first season with the club, contributing to the lethal midfield that helped SKC II clinch the playoffs.

Chicago currently holds the seventh spot in the East, four points clear of the playoff line. They are even on points with Huntsville City FC but lose the wins tiebreaker by one. The Fire sits middle of the pack in both goals scored and goals allowed in the East and are highlighted by two midfield figureheads in the attacking third. Billy Hency leads the team in goals scored with seven while Luka Prpa has five tallies and seven assists. His 12 goal contributions are a team-high.

Sporting KC II will be without Mekideche in the defensive half after he picked up an injury late last week. The entire roster is at head coach Benny Feilhaber's disposal other than that. This season alone, 39 players have contributed minutes to the team making this group one of the deeper sides in MLS NEXT Pro. With three matches to play in the regular season, SKC II can climb as high as second in the West as they chase the Tacoma Defiance and Austin FC II who are two points and one point ahead respectively.

Match Information:

MLS NEXT Pro: Match 26
Date: Sunday, September 10, 2023
Kickoff: 4:00 p.m. CT
Location: Children's Mercy Victory Field at Swope Soccer Village



Match-specific hashtag: #SKCvCHI

Twitter: @SportingKCII
Instagram: @SportingKCII

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