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A 5-2 win over San Jose Earthquakes II at PayPal Park paired with a Minnesota United FC 2 draw against Real Monarchs clinched St Louis CITY2’s playoff appearance in just the first season of play in MLS Next Pro on Sunday. CITY2 move within one point with a game in hand of Western Conference leader Tacoma Defiance.

With the win, CITY2 have a five-point lead of the Frontier division with four games remaining. The top two teams of each division at the end of the season in the West will get a home playoff match with the top seed in the conference earning home-field advantage throughout conference play.

CITY2 wasted little time in the first half as Akil Watts put St. Louis up 1-0 in the sixth minute as Wan Kuzain fed a well-placed pass from the endline to the middle of the box for Watts to finish. Selmir Pidro and João Klauss each scored within three minutes of one another to triple CITY2’s lead, 3-0 in the 41st minute.

Despite a Red Card given to Pidro at the end of the first, CITY2 added two more goals. Klauss had an easy tap-in in the 50th minute from a strong cross by Ben Di Rosa for his second assist of the season. Célio Pompeu became the fourth different goal scorer of the match for CITY2 as he whipped in a free kick from 20 yards out to the near post to raise the lead to five, 5-0, in the 56th minute.

San Jose looked for the comeback, finding two goals late in the match but fell short as CITY2 completed the victory, 5-2.

CITY2 raised its road record to a league-best 7-1-1 and improved to 10-2-2 when scoring the game’s first goal. Klauss and Pidro each scored their first MLS Next Pro goals while Kuzain tallied two assists on the night. Eduard Löwen and Isak Jensen both earned their debut for CITY2 late in the match.

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