Following a thrilling 2-0 victory over North Texas SC in the MLS NEXT Pro Western Conference Semifinals, St Louis CITY2 hosts Tacoma Defiance in the MLS NEXT Pro Western Conference Final on Sunday at Ralph Korte Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. CST in Edwardsville, Ill. The match can be seen live on mlsnextpro.com or can be tuned in on KMOX-AM in English and Lider Media Sports in Spanish.
For most of the regular season, the two teams competed directly for the top spot in the Western Conference. After trading first and second place throughout the season, St Louis CITY2 ultimately claimed the top seed after earning a point against Sporting KC II after capitalizing on Tacoma Defiance’s defeat to Timbers2 on Decision Day.
Sunday’s match will mark the third time the two sides will meet this season, with the series locked at 1-1 after both teams took care of business at home. In the first matchup, CITY2 outlasted Tacoma Defiance in a 4-3 battle that came down to the wire at Hermann Stadium on the campus of Saint Louis University before losing 5-1 in the return fixture at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila, WA.
In their last match, Tacoma Defiance climbed back from a two-goal deficit to force extra time and penalties to defeat Houston Dynamo 2 in a 5-4 shootout win. Tacoma Defiance finished the regular season with 57 goals, good for second in the entire league, with Marlon Vargas (12) and Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez (9) leading the team on the offensive end.
St Louis CITY2 used two second-half goals in their last match, one from Tomáš Ostrák and the other from Célio Pompeu to prevail over a stubborn North Texas SC side. With their first postseason win, CITY2 now has a 16-6-3 record with 53 goals scored. Josh Dolling, who will be available after serving his three-match suspension, leads the club with eight goals and Akil Watts leads with seven assists. Kyle Hiebert, who was selected to the MLS NEXT Pro’s Best XI, has started in all CITY2’s 25 matches and leads the league in minutes played.