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Preview: Sporting KC II @ Louisville City FC

SKC II are unbeaten from last three road games.

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SKC Academy player Isaih LeFlore playing with SKC II
Thad Bell

USL Championship Regular Season- Matchday 18

Sporting Kansas City II @ Louisville City FC

Saturday, August 7, 6:30 p.m. CST

Where: Lynn Family Stadium, Louisville, Kentucky

How to Watch: ESPN+

Sporting Kansas City II is looking to pull off the upset against Louisville City FC in their visit to Louisville on Saturday. The Central Division showdown will feature the best in the division, Lou City, against the worst in the division, SKC II.

Paulo Nagamura’s side is the last of eight Central Division teams with 14 points and a 3-9-5 record. Winless from their last three, with back-to-back home losses, SKC II still remains the best last-place team in the USL Championship. Five points back from a playoff spot, SKC II isn’t too far away from a postseason birth if they can get some results.

Sporting KC II is coming off a 2-1 loss to Memphis 901 FC last Sunday. A goal early in the second half was the difference as SKC II dropped to 1-5-2 at home this season.

The good news is that SKC II is better on the road than they are at home. They sit with a 2-4-3 record on the road this season, entering Saturday unbeaten from their last three road games.

With the first team sending Tyler Freeman on loan to Karlsruher SC in the German 2. Bundesliga, SKC II be without one of their better attacking players. He ended his SKC II season with three goals and 11 chances created, last featuring on Lou 2 against Lou City.

Without Freeman, they still have Enoch Mushagalusa and Rojay Smith, who have a combined nine goals and 24 chances created.

SKC II will be without defender Travian Sousa (hamstring) and forward Ropapa Mensah (groin). Midfielder Jake Davis (knee) has been upgraded to questionable.

This will be SKC II’s first visit to Louisville this season, but Lou City beat SKC II both times in Kansas City this year. Their most recent meeting came on July 28, when Lou City held on for a 2-1 win.

Louisville City FC

With a four-point cushion at the top of the table, Lou City has returned to become one of the top sides in the USL after a tough start to the season where they won just two of their opening five games.

Lou City is on a five-game unbeaten run and coming from a 2-1 win over the OKC Energy last Saturday. Cameron Lancaster, who returned to Lou City this season on loan from Nashville SC, got back on the scoresheet with the game-winner in the 76th minute from the penalty spot.

Lancaster’s goal was his eighth of the season. Alongside Lancaster, Kansas City native Kyle Greig is a great threat since he's scored eight times against SKC II, more than any other player. Corben Bone and Brian Ownby are also players to watch, combining for five goals, nine assists and 47 chances created.

Lou City is managed by 31-year-old interim head coach Danny Cruz, who spent time in the MLS with the Houston Dynamo, DC United and Philadelphia Union. Cruz took over for ex-manager John Hackworth on April 27.

Louisville has been very good at home, entering Saturday with a 7-1-2 record at Lynn Family Stadium.

Predicted Starting XI

Since the first team is in Colorado on Saturday night, the first team loans will be limited.

In the back five, I think there will be three loans from the first team with goalkeeper Kendall McIntosh and Graham Smith partnering with Aljaz Dzankic with Kayden Pierre at right back. Ozzie Cisneros is also predicted to join on loan in the midfield. While I’d like to see Enoch Mushagalus on the left, he gets another shot as the center forward since no one else available is getting that opportunity.

Another Academy Contract

SKCII added Zion Long to the roster before traveling to Louisville.

Final Prediction

While SKC II has been good on the road this season, they will have a tough task against the second-highest scoring team in the league.

I think Lou City wins 3-1.