USL Championship Regular Season- Matchday 4
Sporting Kansas City II @ LA Galaxy II
Wednesday, May 19, 9:30 p.m. CST
Where: Dignity Health Sports Park, Carson, California
How to Watch: ESPN+
Sporting KC II will make their third-ever trip to Los Angeles for a midweek meeting with the USL Championship affiliate of the LA Galaxy.
SKC II are still in search of their first win after starting the season with an 0-2-1 start. That currently has them in sixth place in the Central Division, only ahead of Memphis 901 FC, who has only played one match — a 1-0 loss last weekend.
Sporting II are coming off a 4-0 loss at home against the Colorado Springs Switchbacks.
SKC II will be without defender Matt Constant, who will be serving his one-game suspension for his red card against the Switchbacks last Friday. Still out for SKC II is goalkeeper Remi Prieur (left knee) and defender Travian Sousa (right hamstring). Defender Isaiah LeFlore (right hamstring) is listed as questionable.
In Paulo Nagamura’s fourth season as manager, it will be a return to where his pro playing career started. It began in 2005 with the LA Galaxy, where he made a total of 59 appearances in two seasons.
Nagamura will be looking to guide his side to their first point on the road this season, losing their only previous match on the road against FC Tulsa earlier this month.
Facing two shutouts from their first three matches, SKC II will need to get their attack going. Their only goal came from Tyler Freeman, assisted by Enoch Mushagalusa, to rescue a point against the OKC Energy on matchday two.
In six previous meetings between these two sides, Sporting II- then named Swope Park Rangers- won five and drew one. The only draw came in LA in 2018, accompanied by a 1-0 win in their only other trip to LA in 2017.
LA Galaxy II
Wednesday will not be an easy game for SKC II. They will be up against an LA Galaxy II team that currently sits at the top of the Pacific Division. After four matches, they sit on seven points from two wins, a loss and a tie.
Since losing their first match this season, Galaxy II have gone unbeaten in three games this month. They are coming off a 2-0 win in Salt Lake City against Real Monarchs last Friday where former Sporting KC II signee Preston Judd grabbed his second goal of the season.
Judd is among the top scorers for Galaxy II, joined by former Dutch youth international Kai Koreniuk, who also has two goals in four games. Defender Josh Drack was named to the USL Championship Week 3 Team of the Week for his performance against Las Vegas where he recorded his first pro assist and completed 77 of 96 passes, won 16 duels and made seven interceptions.
Under manager Junior Gonzalez, Galaxy II are tied with the Las Vegas Lights as USL Championship’s youngest team with an average age of 20.3, compared to SKC II’s average age of 20.9 (fourth-youngest).
Predicted Starting XI
With a midweek trip to the West Coast, the first team loans will be limited. While I’d like to see Isaiah LeFlore (questionable) at left-back and Bailey Sparks in the midfield at some point, neither have been named to the team this season.
My prediction includes six changes from last week’s loss. Goalkeeper John Pulskamp is predicted to get the start in his return to his home state of California. I also predicted a very different backline, which includes Christian Duke returning to left-back with Aljaz Dzankic getting his SKC II debut with Danny Barbir returning to the starting XI.
Jake Davis is predicted to be the only midfielder to retain his spot, joined by Jahon Rad and the return of Felipe Hernandez for the first time since 2019. SKC II is predicted to go with the same front three.
While Galaxy II sitting at the top of the Pacific Division is probably misleading this early in the season, they still have two players with more goals than SKC II has from the entire team.
For my final prediction, I am going to predict a 2-0 win for LA Galaxy II.