St Louis CITY2 (11-8-8, 46 points) hits the road for a matchup with cross-state rival Sporting Kansas City II (13-9-5, 47 points) on Sunday, September 24, in the team’s final match of the 2023 regular season. Kickoff is slated for 4:00 p.m. CT, and the match will be streamed on MLS Season Pass on the Apple TV app.
When they faced off at CITYPARK earlier this season, the teams played to a 2-2 draw after CITY2 put out a thrilling come-from-behind effort. SKC II took a two-goal lead into halftime, but goals from forward Caden Glover and midfielder Akil Watts leveled the match after the break. CITY2 earned the extra point with a 5-4 victory in the ensuing shootouts.
In addition to being a rivalry match, Sunday’s contest will have playoff seeding implications for both sides. With a win, CITY2 would leapfrog SKC II in the standings and secure fourth place in the MLS NEXT Pro Western Conference. Kansas City is still in play for third place in the Western Conference.
CITY2 comes into the weekend’s match on a blazing run of form. Hosting LA Galaxy II last weekend, CITY2 pounced on the visitors early and never looked back, earning the MLS NEXT Pro Team of Matchday 27 honor. Defender Wan Kuzain, Glover and a Galaxy II own goal gave CITY2 a 3-0 halftime lead, and then midfielder John Klein bicycle-kicked home a second-half goal en route to the team’s 4-1 victory in front of an MLS NEXT Pro record 9,626-person crowd. The attendance broke the previous record of 9,489, which CITY2 set earlier in the year when they hosted Real Monarchs on Sunday, August 6.
The victory extended CITY2’s unbeaten streak to nine games (seven wins, two draws) and winning streak to five games. Since the team’s unbeaten streak began on July 23 against San Jose Earthquakes II, CITY2 has earned the most points in MLS NEXT Pro (23) and is tied with Columbus Crew 2 for the most goals over that span (26). The team’s nine-match unbeaten streak ranks third for the longest unbeaten streak in MLS NEXT Pro this season, trailing the twelve-game mark set by both Colorado Rapids 2 and New England Revolution II.
With their goals against Galaxy II, Klein and Glover scored in the same game for the third time this season, the most by any pair of teammates for CITY2 this season. The duo has combined for 25 goal contributions (20 goals, 5 assists) thus far. Defender Ezra Armstrong also increased his goal contribution tally last weekend, racking up two assists to give him three on the season.
CITY2’s run can be attributed to strong defensive play as well. The team is tied with New York Red Bulls II for first in interceptions in MLS NEXT Pro (356), ranks ninth in the league in goal difference (plus-10) and has two players among the top fifteen players in MLS NEXT Pro for duels won this season (Klein – 272, midfielder Max Schneider – 269).
On the road this season, CITY2 is 5-4-4 (21 points) with a plus-one goal difference and is currently riding a four-match unbeaten streak. Across these 13 road matches thus far, CITY2 has scored two or more goals seven times, going 4-1-2 (15 points) in those contests. Meanwhile, SKC II is 7-3-3 (27 points) with a plus-14 goal difference at home this season but is coming off a 3-2 loss against Chicago Fire II suffered the last time they took their home pitch.
Sporting Kansas City II comes into Sunday’s match having lost 3-2 to Minnesota United FC 2 their last time out. The team has now lost two consecutive matches, matching their longest losing streak of the season. Forward Pau Vidal leads the team with 11 goals this season, while forward Josh Coan’s eight (8) assists are tied for the second most in MLS NEXT Pro.