After back-to-back home defeats at Rock Chalk Park, Sporting KC II (1-2-1, 4 points) is back on the road for a match with Whitecaps FC 2 (1-1-2, 6 points) at Swangard Stadium in Vancouver, Canada. Kickoff for the match is set for 6 p.m. CT with the contest available to stream on mlsnextpro.com.
Last Saturday, head coach Benny Feilhaber and SKC II hosted St Louis City2 in Lawrence Kansas for the first of three regular season showdowns between the budding rivals. St Louis scored the lone goal of the match off a set-piece in the 10th minute and SKC II could not find the equalizer despite a valiant, 80-minute effort.
In the match, both Paul Agyei and Joseph Tetteh made their SKC II debuts alongside a similar cast of characters from the three previous matches. Kendall McIntosh, Kayden Pierre, Kaveh Rad and Jake Davis made starts as a quartet of Sporting KC first-team loanees and Ozzie Cisneros came in off the bench in the second half.
Cisneros and Pierre will not be available as loanees as they take part in training camps with the U-19 and U-20 U.S. Men’s National teams respectively. Forward Mateo Bunbury who has appeared in three matches and scored a goal is also out on international duty, spending time with Canada's U-20’s. One other player unavailable for SKC II is center back Aljaz Dzankic who underwent surgery to repair a torn ACL. He will be out for the remainder of the 2022 MLS NEXT Pro season.
Stepping into Dzankic’s role in the match against St Louis was defender Cole McLagan who signed with SKC II ahead of the 2022 season. McLagan is a Kansas City native with professional experience as a member of USL League One side Greenville Triumph. He made his second start for SKC II last Saturday, playing the full 90 minutes.
SKC II also announced two signings on Friday, bringing on Sporting KC Academy products Braxton Arpachinda and Guy Michaeli. Arpachinda is a versatile player with the ability to play anywhere on the field while Michaeli is a tall forward with proven goal-scoring prowess at the U-17 level.
Another player to keep an eye on is SKC II’s captain in the first four matches, Collin Fernandez. The midfielder has scored once and assisted on a goal already this season and continues to be a veteran presence amongst the younger players on the squad. Jahon Rad and Julian Vazquez are the other two players in the squad who have started all four matches this season. Rad has provided a cool head on the backline while Vazquez leads the team with two assists.
Looking across the pitch, WFC 2 started off the season with a loss but picked up consecutive 2-2 draws in their next two matches. Last time out they faced off against Tacoma Defiance, and outlasted the Seattle Sounders MLS NEXT Pro affiliate 2-1, grabbing a winner in the 86th minute.
Leading the way for Nick Dasovic’s squad are Giovanni Aguilar and Owen Antoniuk, both with two goals scored this season. WFC 2 have four different players with one assist. Goalkeeper Isaac Boehmer has started three of WFC 2’s four matches, conceding five goals and saving 10 shots.
SKC II heads north of the border this weekend in search of their second MLS NEXT Pro win. Feilhaber will have his squad ready to face a solid WFC 2 side that currently sits atop the Western Conference Pacific Division. Fans can tune into mlsnextpro.com and catch all the action from Sunday’s 6 p.m. CT match.
MLS NEXT Pro: Match 5
Date: Sunday, April 24
Kickoff: 6 p.m. CT
Location: Swangard Stadium (Vancouver, Canada)
Live Stream: mlsnextpro.com
Sporting Kansas City II: 1-2-1, 4 points
Whitecaps FC 2: 1-1-2, 6 points
Match-specific hashtag: #VANvSKC