Sporting Kansas City II has been voted MLS NEXT Pro Team of the Month for the month of July. Fresh off an undefeated June, Sporting KC II posted a 4-1-0 record throughout the month of July, bagging 16 goals and allowing only six. It was a month of recognition for SKC II as the team earned two Team of the Matchday Honors, Alenis Vargas was nominated for Goal of Matchday 19, Nati Clarke was named MLS NEXT Rising Star of Matchday 19 and head coach Benny Feilhaber claimed his second straight MLS NEXT Pro Coach of the Month.
"I’m excited about the direction the team and individual players are heading in," said coach Feilhaber. "We have a good group that is really coming together and fully understanding the way we want to play at this club. Hopefully, we can continue improving and finish the season off strong."
The month of July kicked off with a bang for Sporting KC II when they clattered Whitecaps FC 2 7-1 at Rock Chalk Park. Seven different players found the back of the net as SKC II set a new team record for goals in a match. Cam Duke, Stephen Afrifa, Felipe Hernandez and Danny Flores all scored in the first, before Vargas, Pau Vidal and Andrew Draper tallied in the second half.
Following the historic victory, the group traveled to Portland where they suffered their first defeat since late May, and their only loss in July. They returned to Rock Chalk Park to take on Earthquakes II in a pivotal Western Conference Clash. Sporting KC II took all three points with a 2-1 win thanks to goals from Pau Vidal and Sebastian Cruz.
The proceeding week, the team took on North Texas SC at Choctaw Stadium and obtained their second-straight 2-1 win. Cruz netted the equalizer after NTX took an 11th-minute lead and Josh Coan converted a first-half stoppage-time penalty to take the lead. The defense held onto the advantage and escaped North Texas with another notch in the win tally.
In the final week of the month, Sporting KC II welcomed Western Conference leaders Colorado Rapids 2 to Kansas. SKC II blanked the highest-scoring offense in the league, handing them a 4-0 defeat in just their second loss of the season. Cruz scored for a third consecutive match, Vargas hit home a banger, scissor-kick volley at the top of the box, Nassim Mekideche headed in his second score of 2023 and Felipe Hernandez capped off the night midway through the second. Ethan Bandre earned a clean sheet and Ethan Bryant tallied two assists in one of the most complete, all-around SKC II performances of the year.
Sporting KC II will kick off a busy month of August with three matches in eight days, heading to Houston and Tacoma before a home match against Timbers2 in Lawrence, KS. Coach Feilhaber's side will take on Houston Dynamo 2 at SaberCats Stadium on Sunday at 6 p.m. CT on MLS Season Pass. The busy week continues Wednesday when SKC II faces Tacoma Defiance at 9 p.m. CT and will finish Sunday, Aug. 13 against Timbers2 at Rock Chalk Park.