There is a shakeup in the top-two in the Western Conference after North Texas SC and Tacoma Defiance moved up after earning Week 11 victories this weekend. Defiance extended their winning run to four matches and unbeaten run to seven after rolling past Earthquakes II 6-1 on Saturday. NTX made it three-consecutive victories after defeating Colorado Rapids 2 by a 3-1 scoreline. Columbus Crew 2 rebounded from last weekend’s loss to RNY FC by moving back to first place in the Eastern Conference.
Here’s your MLS NEXT Pro Week 11 recap by the numbers.
Wade Webber left Cheney Stadium a happy man on Saturday night. His Tacoma Defiance rolled to three points by earning a 6-1 result over Earthquakes II at Cheney Stadium. The result not only extended Tacoma’s unbeaten run to seven matches, but also gave the Western Conference club its fourth-straight win.
Six different players got on the scoresheet for the Defiance with Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez and Marlon Vargas headlining the goalscorers.
The Defiance moved to 5-1-1 at home this season - with five matches at Starfire Sports Complex and two at Cheney Stadium - and sits second in the West.
Columbus Crew 2 rebounded from its heavy defeat to RNY FC in Week 10 by scoring four-unanswered goals to defeat Chicago Fire FC II 4-2.
Laurent Courtois’ side scored all four goals in a 34-minute span after halftime, using a winning goal from Ryan Telfer to jump back into first place in the East. Jacen Russell-Rowe continued his impressive run of form by adding his seventh goal of the season to ice the victory.
MNUFC 2 remains one of the consistent squads in MLS NEXT Pro this season, extending its unbeaten run to eight matches following Saturday’s 2-1 result over Sporting KC II.
Second-half finishes from Thomas Williamson and Diogo Pacheco helped the visitors remain in the top-four in the Western Conference and eclipse the 20-point mark through 10 matches played.
Minnesota United 2 currently holds the second-best goalscoring record in the West so far with 22 goals, seven behind leaders Tacoma Defiance.
Orlando City B fell 5-3 in a shootout to NYCFC II on Saturday, but Javier Otero was stellar despite the result for the Florida-based club.
Otero led all MLS goalkeepers with nine saves in Saturday’s match, continuing a strong individual campaign for the Venezuelan. The 19-year-old now has 49 saves through nine starts for OCB, which is the most in MLS NEXT Pro so far this 2022 campaign.
North Texas SC’s dynamic attack normally steals the show, but the Western Conference leaders showed another reason why they are one of the top two-way teams this season.
NTX conceded once in a 3-1 win over Colorado Rapids 2 on Saturday, remaining the only MLS NEXT Pro club with 10 or fewer goals allowed this season. Pa Modou Kah’s side has conceded eight goals in 10 matches played, which is a major reason why they moved to first place in the Western Conference this past weekend.
Their +12 goal differential is also ranked as the second-best in MLS NEXT Pro while NTX also is unbeaten on the road this season (4-0-1).
Inter Miami II savored its first victory since April 23 on Saturday, downing East contenders New England Revolution II 2-0 at DRV PNK Stadium. Shaan Hundai and Tyler Bagley both celebrated goals in the home victory, while defensively Inter Miami II registered its fourth clean sheet of the campaign.
Andre Zuluaga-Silva totaled eight saves for Darren Powell’s squad, impressing in his fourth start of the season to register his first MLS NEXT Pro clean sheet. The 18-year-old has split time with former U.S. youth national team player C.J. Dos Santos, but might remain the starter for Week 12 after a strong Week 11 outing.
Orlando City B looks to have found its leading star offensively after striker Jack Lynn scored his eighth goal of the season on Saturday.
Lynn continued his impressive run of form for OCB, scoring for the second-straight match and netting his sixth goal in his past five appearances. The University of Notre Dame product missed ample time during the end of April for OCB, but has returned with a bang for the Eastern Conference club.
Although OCB isn’t where it would like to be in the league standings, Lynn’s positive play is something to get the local fans excited.