USL Championship Regular Season- Matchday 20
Sporting Kansas City II vs Atlanta United 2
Saturday, August 14, 4:00 p.m. CST
Where: Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City, Kansas
How to Watch: ESPN+
Sporting KC II is looking to get a rare home win on Saturday when they welcome Atlanta United 2. With a home record of 1-5-2, SKC II is in dire need of all three points to fight their way back into the playoff race.
SKC II is coming off a tough 4-2 loss away to Birmingham Legion FC on Wednesday. They let a valuable road point slip away by conceding twice in the final 10 minutes.
Petar Cuic and Jamil Roberts each scored their first of the season, becoming the 12th and 13th players to score this season for SKC II.
Uner fourth-year manager Paulo Nagamura, SKC II enter this weekend’s contest in last place of the Central Division with 14 points and a 3-11-5 record.
SKC II is still without defender Travian Sousa (groin) and forward Ropapa Mensah (hamstring).
Players to Watch:
- Enoch Mushagalusa - The only player to appear in all 19 games. Still leads the team with six goals and third-most shots in the USL with 42. Three of his six goals have come against Atlanta.
- Jamil Roberts - Scored his first professional goal in Sporting II’s 4-2 loss in Birmingham. With Rojay Smith being held without a goal since July 2, maybe Roberts can step in to help out going forward.
- Ozzie Cisneros - Played all 90 minutes in SKC’s 6-1 loss to Leon. Peter Vermes spoke critically of Cisneros following the match, saying he struggled with the “pace” and “physicality” of the game, later adding “he was a little bit lost” at times. If loaned to SKC II on Saturday, it will be interesting to see how the 17-year-old Academy product responds.
A loss on Sunday would send Atlanta, who holds the final playoff spot, 11 points clear of SKC II with 12 matches remaining.
This will be ATL2’s first visit to Children’s Mercy Park this season, though both sides shave already met twice in Atlanta. SKC II came away with a 2-2 draw on June 9 before a 1-0 on July 10, which still stands as SKC II’s last win more than a month later. Both sides will meet again at CMP on October 13.
Atlanta United 2
Atlanta United 2 is managed by former West Ham United midfielder Jack Collison, who took over the managerial role in early June after former manager Stephen Glass left to take on a managerial role in Scotland with Aberdeen.
ATL2 enter Saturday on 22 points and a 5-7-7 record, sitting in the Central Division’s final playoff spot.
Atlanta is 2-1-2 from their last five and is coming off a 2-2 draw with OKC Energy FC. David Mejia scored the equalizer for Atlanta in the third minute of stoppage time.
ATL2 aren’t a great road team, entering Saturday with an away record of 1-5-3. Their only road win came in the second game of the season on May 1 against OKC.
Players to Watch:
- Tyler Wolff - Son of Sporting Legends hall of honor 2019 inductee and Austin FC manager Josh Wolff. Has five goals in eight appearances, including a hat trick last weekend against the Indy Eleven that gave him USL Player of the Week honors. He’s split time between Atlanta’s first team and ATL2, but he has featured in all three ATL2 matches this month.
- Aiden McFadden - Leads ATL2 with six goals in 16 appearances. Starting the season hot, he’s cooled off with just one goal in his last eight appearances.
- Robbie Mertz - Captain this Atlanta side with three assists and second-most chances created for ATL2 with 26. Recorded his first goal and his third assist of the year in Wednesday’s draw with Indy.
Predicted Starting XI
Since the first team is in Dallas, this week’s prediction includes just two first team loans. With the injury news of Jaylin Lindsey, it looks like Jake Davis or Michael Lenis will need to get comfortable in the right back role since Kayden Pierre will be with the first team so much.
Kendall McIntosh is predicted to start in goal with Isaiah LeFlore and Jake Davis at outside back and Danny Barbir and Aljaz Dzankic inside. Ozzie Cisneros gets a shot in the midfield. Zion Long could get his third straight start, though SKC II’s newest signing could change that.
SKC II sign Mali youth international on loan
Sporting KC II added another forward to the team. This time it is Boubacar Traore, a 21-year-old coming on loan for the remainder of the season from Hungarian side Budapest Honved.
NEWS: Sporting Kansas City II signs 21-year-old forward Boubacar Traore on loan from Budapest Honved— Sporting KC II (@SportingKCII) August 13, 2021
Welcome to KC, Boubacar!https://t.co/Vp6MzPpLZA
I think SKC II has a shot at a result on Saturday. The biggest worry will be defending against a team that has scored eight goals in their last two matches. If they can hold them, then a result is well within reach.
I think SKC II gets a point with a 2-2 draw.