CITY2 locked up their playoff spot in front of a record-breaking 9,626-person crowd
St Louis CITY2 defeated LA Galaxy II 4-1 on Sunday, September 17 at CITYPARK. Playing in front of an MLS NEXT Pro record 9,626-person crowd, CITY2 extended their unbeaten streak to nine consecutive games and clinched the team’s second consecutive postseason berth.
CITY2 jumped on the visitors out of the gate, taking the lead in the 8th minute. Defender Ezra Armstrong displayed savvy skill to work around a Galaxy II player and find midfielder Wan Kuzain for a one-time shot in the box to put CITY2 ahead. Kuzain now has five (5) goals this season, tying his total from the 2022 campaign.
The home side kept the pressure on as the half progressed and eventually doubled their lead. Following a beautiful sequence of passing in transition, Armstrong curled a cross from the left flank into the box that found the boot of forward Caden Glover as he made a run into the box. Glover now has seven (7) goals this season, while Armstrong’s two (2) assists on the day pushed his season tally in that category to three.
In the 33rd minute, CITY2 increased its lead to 3-0. Volleying a cross that had been sent in from outside the box, midfielder Faysal Bettache hammered a shot off the crossbar that ricocheted downward, deflected off Galaxy II’s keeper and rolled into the back of the net for an own goal.
It didn’t take long after halftime for CITY2 to increase its advantage once again. After Galaxy II’s goalkeeper saved a handful of shots on frame, Kuzain corralled the ball and passed it to midfielder John Klein, who leapt in the air and bicycle-kicked it in for an impressive goal. Klein now has 13 goals this season, tying him for eighth most in MLS NEXT Pro.
Galaxy II cut into their deficit in the 75th minute through forward Aaron Bibout, who muscled off a pair of defenders and blasted a shot into the top left corner of the goal from inside the box.
With the 4-1 win, CITY2 is now unbeaten over their last nine contests (7 wins, 2 draws) and has won their last five matches. During this unbeaten run, CITY2 has climbed to fifth place in the MLS NEXT Pro Western Conference and outscored opponents 26 to 9. The match was also CITY2’s fifth consecutive home win, tying the team with Austin FC II, Sporting Kansas City II and Tacoma Defiance for the longest home winning streak in MLS NEXT Pro this season.
In their final match of the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro regular season, CITY2 travels to Kansas to square off with cross-state rival Sporting Kansas City II on Sunday, September 24.
Christian Olivares, Nolan McGuire, Michael Wentzel ©, Lucas Bartlett (Josh Maher 43’), Ezra Armstrong, Max Schneider, Sergio Rivas (AJ Palazzolo 76’), Wan Kuzain (Ryley Gibbs 76’), John Klein, Faysal Bettache (Aaron Heard 62’), Caden Glover (Mykhi Joyner 62’)
SUBSTITUTES NOT USED:
Eric Walker, Larsen Hackworth, Stanislav Koval, Dida Armstrong