Matchday Preview

MLS NEXT Pro Matchday 11 Preview


June has arrived and while many MLS NEXT Pro clubs have continued to excel in their respective conferences, the pressure to keep that consistency will continue into the dog days of summer. 

Matchday 11 matches will take place across Friday, Saturday, and Sunday weekend, starting with Austin FC II’s home clash with Real Monarchs. Saturday’s two-match window will take place in the Western Conference as well while Sunday’s heavy slate of matches is headlined by an East Coast showdown between New York Red Bulls II and New England Revolution II.

Monday’s final match of the Matchday pits Tacoma Defiance and St. Louis CITY2 against each other. 

Here is a closer look at the Matchday 11 schedule:

Friday - 6/2

Austin FC II vs. Real Monarchs (9 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV)

Austin FC II is in a troubling run of form heading into a crucial Matchday 11 showdown with Real Monarchs on Friday night.

Brett Uttley’s squad have been shutout in three-consecutive losses and will be hoping to turn the tide on home soil. Valentin Noel, Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez and the rest of the Austin FC II have hit a wall offensively, but remain key attacking players for the club. It will mark the first head-to-head meeting between the two Western Conference sides this season.

Real Monarchs snapped a three-match losing streak on Friday, using an own goal from Lucas Rosa to defeat Sporting KC II by a 1-0 scoreline. The result marked Monarchs third shutout road victory of 2023, which accounts for 75% of their total wins this year. Moses Nyeman has continued to be an impactful player for Monarchs, being used in a number of different roles.

Whitecaps FC 2 vs. Sporting KC II (10 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV)

Whitecaps FC 2 have moved up to second place in the Western Conference heading into Friday’s match vs. Sporting KC II. 

Back-to-back regulation victories was followed up by a 4-2 shootout loss to LA Galaxy II on Sunday night. Joshie Ndakala became the 11th player to register at least one goal for Whitecaps FC 2 this season, continuing to show the depth of the squad in the final third. Ricardo Clark’s squad have been strong at Swangard Stadium this season, winning four of their five matches on home soil so far.

Sporting KC II’s three-match unbeaten run came to an end on Friday against Real Monarchs and Benny Feilhaber will be hoping his side shows a short memory this weekend. Similar to Whitecaps FC 2, 11 different players have contributed at least one goal for SKC II this season, while Pau Vidal leads the team with six tallies of his own. Ozzie Cisneros and Ethan Bryant have also been crucial players in the squad.

Saturday - 6/3

Timbers2 vs. MNUFC2 (3 p.m. ET,

Timbers2 head into Matchday 11 seeking their first two-match winning streak of 2023.

The Western Conference squad hosts MNUFC2 on Saturday in the first of two head-to-head meetings. Diego Gutierrez and Florian Monzon both scored in Sunday’s 2-1 road win over Earthquakes II, giving Shannon Murray’s bunch their first road victory of the season. Now after losing both of their meetings with MNUFC2 in 2022, revenge will surely be on the minds of the Timbers2 players.

MNUFC2 conceded their second-highest goal total in a match this season after falling 4-1 at home to Colorado Rapids 2. Cameron Knowles’ squad will be seeking a bounce-back performance, especially if they want to move themselves up the West standings. Cameron Dunbar scored his second goal of the season and remains a talented young attacker in the MNUFC2 ranks.

LAFC2 vs. Houston Dynamo 2 (10 p.m. ET,

LAFC2 and Houston Dynamo 2 failed to find the back of the net in their first meeting in April, but both teams will be hoping for goals in their final regular season matchup on Saturday. 

LAFC2 have earned five points out of a possible nine in their last three matches, which is a positive trend given the rough start for the club. Four different players have scored goals during this recent run, including Christian Torres who netted his first MLS NEXT Pro goal against Tacoma Defiance last weekend. 

Houston Dynamo 2 have won three of their last five matches including a 2-0 Texas Derby triumph over Austin FC II last weekend. Kenny Bundy’s squad used first-half goals from Diego Gonzalez and Charles Auguste to set the tone early before cruising their way to three points. Andrew Pannenburg registered his second clean sheet of 2023, making four saves in Xavier Valdez’s absence (FIFA U-20 World Cup duty).

Sunday - 6/4

Columbus Crew 2 vs. Chicago Fire II (2 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV)

It’s been smooth sailing for Columbus Crew 2 against Chicago Fire II so far in MLS NEXT Pro and Laurent Courtois’ squad will be seeking a fifth-consecutive head-to-head victory on Sunday afternoon.

Crew 2 have yet to lose to Fire II, winning their previous four matchups and outscoring their Eastern Conference opponents 9-3 over that span. Noah Fuson scored twice against Fire II last season while Marco Micaletto has also found the back of the net once. Gibran Rayo’s dramatic 88th minute winner boosted Crew 2 past Fire II 1-0 earlier this April.

Fire II have failed to win any of their last eight matches and will be hoping for anything against the defending MLS NEXT Pro champions. Back-to-back defeats to TFC II and Crown Legacy FC have Fire II as one of five remaining teams yet to reach double-digits in points. Harold Osorio (three goals) and Luka Prpa (three assists) remain the key attackers to watch for Fire II.

FC Cincinnati 2 vs. Philadelphia Union II (6 p.m. ET,

Philadelphia Union II swept FC Cincinnati 2 in last season’s meetings and after earning a statement win over Columbus Crew 2 this past weekend, confidence will be high in Marlon LeBlanc’s squad. 

Union II overcame a 2-0 deficit at Subaru Park on Sunday before using a hat trick from Jeremy Rafanello to claim a 3-2 result. It marked the second-consecutive impactful performance from Rafanello, who had registered two assists the weekend prior. The 23-year-old attacker will be one to watch at Northern Kentucky University this Sunday.  Captain Brandan Craig remains unavailable due to international duty with the U.S. Under-20 men’s national team.

FC Cincinnati 2 comes into Matchday 11 seeking their first regulation victory since April 23. Tyrone Marshall should have Arquimides Ordonez back available following his involvement at the FIFA U-20 World Cup with Guatemala. Ordonez leads FCC2 with six goals so far this season.

Huntsville City FC vs. NYCFC II (7 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV)

Two teams coming off opposite Matchday 10 results will meet at Joe Davis Stadium for the first time. 

NYCFC II have won two matches in a row and three of their last five overall in league play. Jack Beer scored for the second-straight week in a 2-1 triumph over FC Cincinnati 2 while Massimo Murania celebrated his first goalscoring performance of the season. NYCFC II has yet to face Huntsville City FC in 2023, but will be eager to spoil the party on Sunday night in Alabama.

Huntsville City FC continues its four-match homestand on Sunday after losing 2-1 to New York Red Bulls II this past weekend. Jack Collison’s squad used a first goal from Chrisonic N’sa to tie things up at Joe Davis Stadium, but Red Bulls II would use a 70th minute penalty kick winner to claim all three points. Goals have continued to be an issue for Huntsville City FC this season, as their 12 goals scored are tied for the fewest in the Eastern Conference.

New York Red Bulls II vs. New England Revolution II (7 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV)

Only three points separate New York Red Bulls II and New England Revolution II in the East standings coming into Sunday’s second meeting of the season.

New York Red Bulls II witnessed their three-match winning streak come to an end Monday following a 3-2 road loss to Orlando City B. Despite scoring two goals for the third match in their last four, Red Bulls II conceded twice in the second half at Osceola Heritage Park. Still, it’s been a good spring for Ibrahim Sekagya’s squad, who have 20 points earned in 11 matches. A home win over Revs II would tie them with their Sunday opponents.

Revs II are flying high after winning their fourth-straight match on Sunday, a 1-0 victory over Inter Miami II at Gillette Stadium. Pierre Cayet’s second goal of the season was all Clint Peay’s squad needed to keep their strong run of form going, while Jacob Jackson registered his second-consecutive clean sheet. Revs II are tied with Colorado Rapids 2 for the most goals scored in 2023 (27).

ATL UTD 2 vs. Inter Miami II (7:30 p.m. ET,

Inter Miami II defeated ATL UTD 2 once already in 2023 and Federico Higuain’s squad could desperately use another head-to-head win to end a poor run of form. 

Inter Miami II makes the trip to Fifth Third Bank Stadium off the back of three-straight shutout defeats. A valiant effort in a 1-0 loss to New England Revolution II did not lead to three points, but could give Inter Miami II a needed boost for Sunday’s trip to Kennesaw. Edison Azcona, Israel Boatwright, and David Ruiz all impressed at the FIFA U-20 World Cup and should be back at club level this weekend. 

ATL UTD 2 have claimed points in each of their last three matches and will be hoping for a second-straight regulation win on Sunday. Steve Cooke’s squad used an own goal from Luka Gavran paired with Karim Tmimi’s second-half finish to claim a first home victory since April 30. Tmimi has continued to be one of ATL UTD 2’s top scoring threats of late, scoring in five of his last six matches.

Colorado Rapids 2 vs. Earthquakes II (8 p.m. ET,

Colorado Rapids 2 remains top of the MLS NEXT Pro standings with zero signs of slowing down.

A 4-1 road win over MNUFC 2 propelled Rapids 2 to an eighth regulation win of the season on Sunday. Remi Cabral scored a brace for Erik Bushey’s squad while Connor Miller and Oliver Larraz also found the back of the net. 10 different players have scored goals for Rapids 2 this season and Cabral is moving up the club’s scoring ranks, sitting three tallies behind Yosuke Hanya’s seven goals.

Earthquakes II might have a tough time at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park after losing back-to-back matches in a four-day span. After being shutout by Whitecaps FC 2 on Thursday, Earthquakes II conceded a late penalty kick winner to Timbers2 in a 2-1 defeat. Rudi Castro has two goals now this season and remains a familiar face in the Quakes II attacking front.

TFC II vs. Orlando City B (8 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV)

Orlando City B have earned seven points out of their last nine available ahead of a Sunday trip to TFC II. 

Back-to-back victories against Inter Miami II and New York Red Bulls II have OCB up to third place in the Eastern Conference. Jack Lynn’s strong run of form continued on Monday as the former Notre Dame prospect netted his fourth goal out of his past three appearances. Lynn has continued to rise to the occasion in Martin Perelman’s attack and will be counted on once again at York Lions Stadium.

TFC II has continued to struggle for consistency in 2023 after losing back-to-back matches on Sunday and three of their last five overall. Gianni Cimini’s squad looked to have turned things around earlier this spring, but consecutive losses to NYCFC II and ATL UTD 2 have kept TFC II bottom of the East on seven points. Hugo Mbongue, Jesus Batiz, and Alec Diaz have nine combined goals this season and must be the difference makers to help TFC II out of this funk.

North Texas SC vs. LA Galaxy II (8:30 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV)

North Texas SC hasn’t lost in regulation since April 30, but only have seven points to show out of the last five matches. 

Sunday’s 5-4 shootout defeat to St. Louis CITY SC continued a worrying time for Javier Cano’s squad. NTX haven’t won any of their last four shootouts, dropping points in all four of their May matches. Diego Pepi’s first-career MLS NEXT Pro goal was the key highlight against CITY2 last weekend.

LA Galaxy II forward Aaron Bibout scored twice in Sunday’s 4-2 shootout win over Whitecaps FC 2, giving Galaxy II their second shootout victory of the year. Bibout leads the team with seven goals this season and will be a tough attacker for the NTX backline to slow down. Galaxy II was shutout 1-0 by NTX back in early-April and will be seeking a bounce-back performance on home soil this time.

Monday - 6/5

Tacoma Defiance vs. St. Louis CITY2 (9 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV)

St. Louis CITY SC visits Tacoma Defiance in the final match of Matchday 11 seeking a second road victory in their last two attempts. 

Bobby Murphy’s squad makes the trip to Starfire Sports Complex with only one regulation win out of their last five matches overall. CITY2 are 3-0 in shootouts over that same span though, recently edging North Texas SC 5-4 on Sunday. Six different players have celebrated goals over the past three matches, including Aziel Jackson, who impressed for St. Louis’ first team in U.S. Open Cup action earlier this spring.

Tacoma Defiance will be seeking a home victory after failing to do so in regulation in their last three matches. Wade Webber’s squad edged LAFC2 3-1 in a shootout on Sunday, rebounding from a shutout loss at Whitecaps FC 2 the weekend prior. The Defiance will hope someone takes the goalscoring reins going forward, especially if they want to move up the West standings.