MLS NEXT Pro Regular Season- Matchday 2
Sporting KC II @ MNUFC2
When: Sunday, April 3, 1:00 p.m. CT
Where: Allianz Field, St. Paul, Minnesota
How To Watch: MLSNEXTPro.com
The first installment of the nicest rivalry in sports is coming this week to MLS NEXT Pro as Sporting KC II visits MNUFC2. The Frontier Division rivals will clash in St. Paul on Sunday for MNUFC2’s inaugural home match.
Led by first-year head coach Benny Feilhaber, SKC II is one of the 21 charter members of the MLS NEXT Pro.
Both teams enter Sunday’s matchup winless. Sporting KC II earned a point in their penalty shootout loss away to Colorado Rapids 2 last week. Deadlocked at 1-1 after 90 minutes, Rapids 2 took the 4-2 win on penalties.
Goalkeeper John Pulskamp made some big saves to keep the visitors in it. SKC II’s best spell came when they possessed the ball well for a 15-minute spell in the second half. See this link for highlights from the week one shootout loss.
Sunday’s trip north will also be a return home for Sporting II assistant coach Ike Opara. The retired defender last played for Minnesota United, winning MLS Defender of the Year with the Loons in 2019.
Players to Watch:
Julian Vázquez - Provided a good cross on the assist in last week’s shootout loss to Colorado. Played all 90 minutes in the forward line.
TJ Fatah - The super-sub scored nine minutes after coming on to level the score in week one.
Collin Fernandez - Played all 90 minutes last week in the midfield, making his debut as SKC II captain.
In the club’s inaugural game, Minnesota United 2 suffered a 3-1 loss on the road against North Texas SC. Level 1-1 into the final 15 minutes, the FC Dallas affiliate went 2-1 down in the 78th minute and 3-1 down after an own goal in the 89th minute.
Led by head coach Cameron Knowles, Sunday will be MNUFC2’s home opener at Allianz Field. MNUFC2 could feature a couple of familiar names, such as former SKC goalkeeper Eric Dick, who could go on loan from the Loons’ first team.
Players to Watch:
Fred Emmings - Minnesota United’s first-ever homegrown stands at 6’5” in the goal.
Justin McMaster - Scored against North Texas.
Aziel Jackson - Based on highlights from week one, Jackson looks a real danger in the final third for MNUFC2.
Hopefully, MNUFC2’s first-ever broadcast is much better than what was provided by Rapids 2.
I predict a 2-1 win for SKC II.