This is the last match week for the inaugural season of MLS NEXT Pro as every team looks to finish the campaign strong. Along with four other games, week 26 ends with the Game of the Week as St Louis CITY2 host Sporting KC II at Centene Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri, in the first official match at the newly-minted MLS stadium. The action is set to kick off at 7 p.m. ET on Sunday.
CITY2 enter this week as the second seed in the Western Conference with a playoff spot already clinched. However, the team could still leapfrog to the top of the conference standings with a win and a Tacoma Defiance loss.
Sporting KC II, on the other hand, are already eliminated from playoff contention but that doesn’t mean the team has nothing to fight for in this last match. The club could move to the seventh spot in the West with a win over CITY2 and losses from both Colorado Rapids 2 and Whitecaps FC 2.
This and every match will be available to stream live on MLSNEXTPro.com.
MLS NEXT Pro has teamed up with automated camera technology provider Spiideo to deliver live streams of all MLS NEXT Pro matches, ensuring every game this season will be available for viewing on MLSNEXTPro.com.
St Louis CITY2 already clinched a playoff spot and a top four seed in the Western Conference, but the team is looking for more.
With one game left in the regular season, CITY2 could still be the first seed in the West with a win over conference foe Sporting KC II. The current top seed Tacoma Defiance also has to lose for that to happen, but it starts with a win for CITY2.
However, beating a resilient SKC II side is easier said than done as the club is coming off the biggest win in team history. Look for CITY2 to constantly pressure the ball to win it back and set up the frontline with quick chances in front of goal.
The team is also looking to snap a two game skid to finish the season on a high note before the MLS NEXT Pro playoffs. Prior to the skid the team won four straight games and scored 16 goals in that span compared to just two goals in its last two matches.
Josh Dolling, forward - The 24-year-old leads the line for CITY2 and will certainly be looked upon to add to his eight-goal tally so far after failing to score in the last five games.
Akil Watts, defender - Believe it or not, the 22-year-old defender has racked up six goals and six assists this season. Look for Watts to be a key part in this game for CITY2.
Wan Kuzain, midfielder - The 24-year-old has five goals and five assists this season, but has been in stellar form the last couple of matches. Can he keep it up?
Sporting KC II may be eliminated from playoff contention, but the team still has goals to finish the season on a high note.
The team from Kansas City currently is the ninth seed in the West, which is close to the bottom of the standings, but can move into seventh with a win. And it would be a massive win over a playoff team in CITY2. The win would add momentum to the 5-0 victory the team is coming off of last week over Colorado Rapids 2. Meaning the team would be going into the offseason with two huge wins and mid table finish in the standings.
Rauf Salifu, forward - Leading the team in goals with six is an incredible feat, but can he add to his tally against a formidable playoff team?
Bakary Bagayoko, forward - The 24-year-old scored half of his goal tally last week with two goals against Colorado Rapids 2. Look for the forward to make it consecutive games on the scoresheet.
Julian Vazquez, forward - The 21-year-old veteran forward has four goals and three assists for SKC II this season, but has been limited in his minutes over the last several matches. Can he return to early-season form?