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Preview: Sporting KC II vs Louisville City FC

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Can SKC II get their second straight win?

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Puslkamp could get a start to stay sharp
Thad Bell

USL Championship Regular Season- Matchday 13

Sporting Kansas City II vs Louisville City FC

Friday, July 2, 7:00 p.m. CST

Where: Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City, Kansas

How to Watch: ESPN+

Sporting KC II return home for a Fourth of July weekend matchup against Louisville City FC on Friday. Starting and ending the month of June on positive notes, SKC II will be looking to get more favorable results in July.

SKC II are coming from a thrilling 3-2 win in Memphis. After giving up a 2-0 advantage, Danny Barbir headed in the winner in the 72nd minute.

Last weekend’s win was the first road win of the season. It pushed Sporting II into seventh place of the Central Division with 10 points and a 2-6-4 record.

The hosts will be without forward Ropapa Mensah (groin strain) and defender Travian Sousa (hamstring strain). Other than that, the injured list is clean with the possibility of more loans from the first team.

Enoch Mushagalusa leads SKC II with four goals. He is followed by Jamaican forward Rojay Smith and Academy product Tyler Freeman, who each have three.

Friday will be the first of four times these two sides meet this year. They previously met four times last season in Louisville, where Lou City won three and lost one. The two will meet again at CMP later this month before the two meet again in Louisville in August and October.

Louisville City FC

Louisville City FC will look a little different from last year. The biggest difference will be the manager. After winning their first match of the season 2-0 over Atlanta United 2, the club mutually agreed to part ways with manager John Hackworth. Former Houston Dynamo and Philadelphia Union winger Danny Cruz has stepped in as interim manager.

Under Cruz’s guidance, Loui City enters unbeaten from their last four, last losing to Atlanta United 2 on June 6. They are coming off a 3-3 draw with the Indy Eleven putting them in second place in the Central Division on 17 points with a record of 5-2-2.

One thing that Lou City knows how to do is score. Among the top-scoring teams in the USL, Louisville has scored 11 of their 17 goals in their last four games. Cameron Lancaster is Louisville’s leading scorer with five goals, followed by Paolo DelPiccolo with three goals.

One of Lou City’s vulnerabilities could be its inconsistent defense. Goalkeeper Chris Hubbard has recorded three shutouts but has conceded five goals from his past two matches.

Predicted Starting XI

This week’s prediction includes John Pulskamp and Amadou Dia returning to SKC II. It is an all-SKC II midfield with Petar Cuic, Christian Duke and Jake Davis. Tyler Freeman is predicted to return to the starting XI alongside Enoch Mushagalusa and Rojay Smith.

Final Prediction

It's going to be a tough task to contain a rampant Lou City attack.

I think Lou City will come away with a 3-2 win.