USL Championship Regular Season- Matchday 6
Sporting Kansas City II vs El Paso Locomotive FC
Sunday, May 30, 4:00 p.m. CST
Where: Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City, Kansas
How to Watch: ESPN+
Still in search of their first win, Sporting Kansas City II return home for their first-ever meeting against El Paso Locomotive FC on Sunday.
With fourth-year manager Paulo Nagamura, SKC II are off to one of their worst starts in team history. Two points from their first five matches is the same start they had in 2019 in their final year as Swope Park Rangers. SPR scored seven and conceded 12 to open 2019 while SKC II has scored just twice and conceded 10 to open 2021.
SKC II is coming off a 2-0 defeat against the Indy Eleven last weekend. Last weekend’s results kept Sporting II in seventh place of the Central Division with a record of 0-3-2.
Wilson Harris and Dominik Resetar enter as the two goalscorers for SKC II this year. Among the worst in the USL Championship both defensively and offensively with the second-worst goal differential, SKC II are desperate for a solid 90 minutes on Sunday.
They will be without goalkeeper Remi Prieur (left knee) and defenders Isaiah LeFlore (right hamstring) and Travian Sousa (right hamstring).
El Paso Locomotive FC
El Paso come to Kansas City for the first time ever in their third year of existence under manager Mark Lowry.
Leading El Paso since their inaugural 2019 season, Lowry has guided El Paso with both seasons ending with heartbreaking losses in the Conference Final. In 2019, Locomotive lost in extra time to Phoenix Rising 2-1 due to a goal in the 120th minute. In 2020, El Paso lost in a penalty shootout to Real Monarchs.
El Paso have played just twice this year, drawing 1-1 with New Mexico United on May 8 before defeating Rio Grande Valley FC Toros 1-0 last weekend. They currently sit fourth in the Mountain Division with a 1-0-1 record and four points.
Returning to Kansas City are three guys that spent time with the SKC organization. In his third season with El Paso, Haitian international and ex-Sporting KC MLS Cup-winning defender Mechack Jerome will make his return. Bryam Rebellón is also set to make his return after making 27 appearances with SPR in 2018. Lastly, former SKC and SPR goalkeeper Adrian Zendejas could make his return to CMP for what would be his second appearance for El Paso on loan from Minnesota United.
Last season it was Dylan Mares and Aaron Gómez leading the way in the attack for El Paso, scoring five goals each. Through the two games this year, Mares has one and Leandro Carijo has the other.
Predicted Starting XI
With the first team home on Saturday night, there could be quite a few loans to Sporting II on Sunday.
For this week’s predicted XI, I have nine players going on loan. Goalkeeper Kendall McIntosh keeps his spot, joined by Amadou Dia, Graham Smith and Jaylin Lindsey with Danny Barbir as the only SKC II-contracted defender. Petar Cuic is the only other SKC II player, joined by Felipe Hernandez and Cameron Duke. Up top is the homegrown trio of Tyler Freeman, Wilson Harris and Grayson Barber.
As one of the top teams in the USL, it is going to be asking a lot for SKC II to come away with all three points. The good thing for SKC II is that El Paso still haven’t been at their best.
For my final prediction, I think El Paso wins it 2-0.