SKC II Recap: Sporting KC II suffers defeat to Ventura County FC in 2024 home opener 


Sporting Kansas City II (1-1-0, 3 points) took their first loss of 2024, slipping to a 3-1 defeat at home to Ventura County FC (2-0-0, 6 points) on a rainy Sunday evening at Rock Chalk Park in Lawrence, Kansas. Two first-half goals from the visitors put Sporting KC II in the hole, a second-half penalty save and a third goal put the match too far out of reach for the hosts despite a valiant effort at the end.

Forward, and birthday boy, Pau Vidal tucked his second goal of the campaign into the net and 17-year-old Johann Ortiz tallied his first professional assist on said goal with a nifty through ball. Fellow Academy player, 15-year-old, Ian James made his first professional start and played the full 90 at centerback. 

Soon-to-be Sporting Legend Benny Feilhaber trotted out a starting XI with five first-team loanees and two academy players. Ryan Schewe started in net and made four saves while James, Nati Clarke, Kayden Pierre and Chris Rindov played on the defensive line. Cielo Tschantret played at the six with Ethan Bryant and Danny Flores in front of him and Stephen Afrifa, Beto Avila and Sebastian Cruz in front of them.

Schewe was called into action very early in the contest, making a comfortable save in the middle of his net. SKC II responded with a crack at goal of their own, forcing Brady Scott into a save. Scott's side gave him a cushion soon thereafter when Aaron Bibout found the back of the net off a centering pass from Mauricio Cuevas.

Sporting KC II installed their high press from the first whistle, going right after the Ventura defense. The aggressive nature of the pressure saw Avila pick up a 16th-minute yellow after a challenge near midfield.

The striker almost got involved in the attack with an overhead kick that floated across the box to a pair of SKC II attackers. The offensive sequence was shut down by an offside flag from the AR. An errant pass from the Kansas City backline sprung the guests into a quick counter that saw a mishit shot sail well high of the target.

Avila then fired one goalward that took a quick deflection and spun just past the far post. Moments later, a corner from Bryant was headed toward the six by Rindov. Cruz and his mark jockeyed for position resulting in both players falling to the turf while the ball bounced over the endline for a goal kick.

The end-to-end action yielded a second goal for the California side in the 25th when Cuevas assisted Jonathan Perez inside the 18. Down two goals, Flores strutted his skills, dribbling multiple defenders before he found Afrifa in the box. The FIU alum attempted to get a shot off but got stonewalled by a defender and the redirect bounced just out of reach of Bryant.

Bryant did get on the end of a Cruz cross that slid through the box, however, his blast flew over the crossbar. Ventura barely missed a third right before halftime when Perez pinged a shot off the far post which Rindov cleared. SKC II made two swaps coming out of the break, bringing on Ortiz and Jake Swallen for Flores and Bryant. Just under 10 minutes into the second, Ventura scored a third off the foot of Gino Vivi.

In the 60th, Cruz cut into the attacking third, broke for the box and slipped Avila into the area where he was clattered down from behind. Tschantret stepped up to take the penalty and hit it low and hard, aiming for the left corner, but Scott got a paw to it to keep it out. After the clearance, Vidal and Roberto Hategan came on for Afrifa and Avila.

Pierre showed off his speed in the 64th sprinting into a dangerous area before hitting a shot off target. Clarke then hit a ball that was somewhere between a cross and shot that tied up Scott. The keeper recovered in time and opted to box the ball over the bar. The ensuing corner forced the keeper into another punch over the goal. A third corner was then cleared by the away side.

SKC II remained on the attack with Hategan poking a shot from a difficult angle wide of the near post. Kamron Habibullah, a former Vancouver Whitecap first-teamer, debuted for SKC II in the 77th as Feilhaber's final sub. 

Vidal pulled one back as SKC II were rewarded for all of their attacking efforts in the contest. Ortiz smartly found the forward's run with a diagonal ball and the Spaniard finished it with a clinical placement into the far side of the net. Sporting kept the attack up but was unable to test Scott again for the remainder of the contest.

Sporting KC II's next match will see them host, rivals St. Louis CITY2 at Rock Chalk Park on Sunday, March 31. Tickets for the first of three meetings with St. Louis are on sale now at for just $10 and children under 12 receive free admission. In the team's last meeting, SKC II defeated St. Louis in penalties at Swope Soccer Village on MLS NEXT Pro Decision Day to earn a top-three finish in the Western Conference.

Sporting KC II 1-3 Ventura County FC
Sporting KC II
Ventura County FC 

Sporting Kansas City II: Ryan Schewe; Kayden Pierre (Kamron Habibullah 78'), Chris Rindov, Ian James, Nati Clarke; Cielo Tschantret, Ethan Bryant (Johann Ortiz 46'), Danny Flores (Jake Swallen 46'); Sebastian Cruz, Beto Avila (Pau Vidal 61'), Stephen Afrifa (Roberto Hategan 61')
Subs Not Used: Jacob Molinaro, Maouloune Goumballe, Demarre Montoute, Jonathan Robinson

Ventura County FC: Brady Scott; Mauricio Cuevas, Marcus Ferkranus, Ascel Essengue, Riley Dalgado (Carson Kelin 78'); Isaiah Parente, Tucker Lepley (Gabriel Arnold 87'), Jonathan Perez (Sean Karani 78'), Ruben Ramos Jr. (Nicolas Schelotto 89'), Gino Vivi (Harbor Miller 78'); Aaron Bibout
Subs Not Used: Lucca Adams, Carlos Diaz, Sergio Villalpando

Scoring Summary:

VCFC – Aaron Bibout 1 (Mauricio Cuevas 1) 11'
VCFC – Jonathan Perez 1 (Mauricio Cuevas 2) 25'
VCFC – Gino Vivi 1 (Aaron Bibout 1)
SKC – Pau Vidal 2 (Johann Ortiz 1) 86'

Misconduct Summary:

SKC – Beto Avila (yellow card; unsporting conduct) 16'SKC – Cielo Tschantret (yellow card; unsporting conduct) 38'
VCFC – Isaiah Parente (yellow card; delaying a restart) 45+1'
SKC – Nati Clarke (yellow card; unsporting conduct) 83'

Match Statistics
Shots on Goal
Corner Kicks

Referee: Calin Radosav
Assistant Referee: Eric Wood
Assistant Referee: Laura Chambers Waliski
Fourth Official: Nathan Colling