Sporting Kansas City II

SKC II Match Preview: Sporting KC II takes on LAFC2 at Titan Stadium in second match in four days

DL MATCH PREVIEW

It will be a quick turnaround for Sporting Kansas City II (4-4-4, 18 points) as they travel to the City of Angels for a meeting with Los Angeles Football Club 2 at Titan Stadium in Fullerton, CA on Sunday, June 18, just three days after their match with Tacoma Defiance. Kickoff for the final regular season meeting between these two sides is set for 7 p.m. CT and the match will stream live on MLSNEXTPro.com and the MLS YouTube page. 

Earlier in the season Sporting KC II hosted LAFC2 at Rock Chalk Park and handled the MLS NEXT Pro newcomers 2-1 in the club's first regulation win of the season. Since then, LAFC2 has won one match but boasts a stout defense that has only conceded 13 times in their 11 matches. 

In SKC II's Thursday night showdown with the Defiance, head coach Benny Feilhaber rolled out a starting XI featuring seven first-team loanees. The bolstered side drew 2-2 with Tacoma and claimed the extra point in the subsequent shootout.

Both of SKC II's leading scorers found the back of the net in the 2-2 draw against Tacoma. Forward Pau Vidal netted his team-best seventh goal of the campaign while midfielder and first-teamer Ozzie Cisneros scored his third. Defender Nassim Mekideche, who wore the captain's armband for the first time in 2023, picked up his first SKC II assist as well. 

Both Cisneros has been a renaissance in the SKC II midfield this season, starting eight of 11 appearances after missing a majority of 2022 due to injury. The Sporting KC Academy product has made the most of his chances scoring on all three of his shots on target on just 11 shots. Vidal burst onto the scene scoring in six of his first seven appearances and got back onto the scorer's sheet against Tacoma. 

While not credited with an assist, winger Alenis Vargas created the chance that led to Cisneros' opener. The Honduran joined the team early in the season and is tied with Andrew Draper in assists with three apiece. Against Tacoma, his brilliant turn in the midfield and diagonal ball into the box caused the rebound that led to SKC II's first goal. 

Sporting KC Academy product Sebastian Cruz has also found his form in his first professional season. The California native returns to his home state with one goal and two assists in eight starts. It will be a double homecoming for Cruz as he not only returns to his native state but the stadium in which he played college soccer after three-year standout seasons at Cal State Fullerton where he became the first Titan to earn Big West Midfielder of the Year honors outright.

Goalkeeper Ethan Bandre did not start Thursday bringing an end to his streak of five straight starts. Bandre, in his second season, leads all SKC II goalkeepers in starts (7), saves (19), save percentage (71.1 percent) and wins (3). He owns a 3-1-3 record in his seven starts. 

LAFC2, in their first year of existence, has a record of 1-6-4 and currently sits in the basement of the Western Conference. Led by Enrique Duran, this young squad is still looking to find their footing in MLS NEXT Pro. Four of their six losses have come by just one goal and they have earned results in three of their last five matches. 

Sporting KC II will be without defender Mo Abualnaid once again as the defender finishes out his international duty with the Jorand U-23 squad. Abualnadi scored twice in the Jordanian's 2-2 draw with Iraq in the opening round of the West Asia Championship and helped the squad take a 2-1 win over the United Arab Emirates two days later. 

Following their clash with LAFC2, SKC II returns to Rock Chalk Park on Sunday, June 26 for the team's first-ever Bark at the Park. Tickets are on sale at SeatGeek.com and any fan planning on bringing their dogs must fill out a waiver beforehand. 

Match Information:

MLS NEXT Pro: Match 13
Date: Sunday, June 18, 2023
Kickoff: 7 p.m. CT
Location: Titan Stadium (Fullerton, CA)

SOCIAL TAGS:

Match-specific hashtag: #LAFCvSKC

Twitter: @SportingKCII
Instagram: @SportingKCII

Twitter: @LAFC2Instagram:@LAFC2