Matchday Preview

MLS NEXT Pro Matchday 12 Preview


Colorado Rapids 2 and Crown Legacy FC have continued to lead the pack in MLS NEXT Pro this season, but several others are starting to catch up with points at a premium during the month of June.

Matchday 12 gets underway with an Eastern Conference matchup between Inter Miami II and FCC2 on Thursday and a triple header on Friday with Philadelphia Union II, Austin FC II, and Real Monarchs all playing as hosts. Saturday’s lone match comes from Providence Park as Timbers2 welcomes North Texas SC to town.

Sunday’s nine-match slate features Crown Legacy FC’s trip to Columbus Crew 2 and a rivalry showdown between NYCFC II and New York Red Bulls II.

Here is a closer look at the Matchday 12 schedule:

Thursday - 6/8

Inter Miami II vs FC Cincinnati 2 (7 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV)

Inter Miami II will not only be seeking to end their losing streak on Thursday, but Federico Higuain will also be hoping his team can find the back of the net. Inter Miami II have failed to score in their last 369 minutes of action, which recently included a 5-0 hammering at the hands of ATL UTD 2. Lucas Meek and Lorenzo D’Agostini will be seeking to end their recent drought in front of goal.

FC Cincinnati 2 earned their first regulation victory on Matchday 11 since April 23 after edging Philadelphia Union II by a 2-1 scoreline. Results haven’t gone the way that Tyrone Marshall would’ve liked, but the return of Arquimides Ordonez could prove crucial over the summer. Ordonez continues to lead the team with six goals despite missing time due to the FIFA U-20 World Cup.

Friday - 6/9

Philadelphia Union II vs. ATL UTD 2 (7 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV)

A battle of seventh and eighth in the Eastern Conference kicks off Matchday 12’s action on Friday night.

Philadelphia Union II welcomes ATL UTD 2 to Subaru Park with Marlon LeBlanc’s squad sitting five points behind their visiting opponents. Union II slumped to a 2-1 road loss to FC Cincinnati 2 on Matchday 11 after going down to 10 men early in the second half. Despite Luciano Sanchez’s first goal of the season, Union II will be seeking a bounce-back performance on home soil.

Brandan Craig should be back available for Union II after a strong showing at the FIFA U-20 World Cup.

Back-to-back home shutout victories have propelled Steve Cooke’s ATL UTD 2 squad up to seventh in the East. Nicolas Firmino and David Mejia led the way in last weekend’s 5-0 romp over Inter Miami II, giving ATL UTD 2 their first consecutive wins since April. Firmino has been ATL UTD 2’s most productive player in 2023, scoring seven goals and adding three assists so far.

Austin FC II vs. Whitecaps FC 2 (9 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV)

Whitecaps FC 2 have overtaken Austin FC II in second place in the Western Conference making Friday’s showdown at Parmer Field that much more crucial.

A 3-0 home victory over Real Monarchs on Matchday 11 helped Brett Uttley’s squad get back on track after three-straight losses prior to that. David Rodriguez registered his first brace of the season while Valentin Noel added his fifth goal of the campaign. Both players will be crucial once again for the Austin FC II, who have earned the most points at home so far in 2023 (17).

Whitecaps FC 2 are unbeaten in four-straight matches heading into a trip to Texas on Friday. Ricardo Clark’s men claimed two points in a 5-4 shootout victory over Sporting KC II last weekend, with Levonte Johnson scoring his second goal over his past five appearances. Johnson leads the team with five goals and has been a dynamic attacking piece for Whitecaps FC 2 so far.

Real Monarchs vs. LA Galaxy II (10 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV)

Two Western Conference clubs seeking to move up the standings will meet at Zions Bank Stadium. 

Real Monarchs and LA Galaxy II square off in Friday night’s final match with both teams sitting in the bottom-three of the West table. Real Monarchs have lost four of their last five matches and desperately would like to get something going in front of their home supporters. Diego Luna could return to Jamison Olave’s squad following his U.S. Under-20 men’s national team involvement. 

LA Galaxy II have earned five points from their last 12 available, recently falling 2-0 to North Texas SC on Matchday 11. Galaxy II have conceded 27 goals so far this season, which is tied for the most in the Western Conference and tied for second-most in MLS NEXT Pro. Aaron Bibout remains a key threat offensively with seven goals to his name, but ultimately the backline needs to tighten up.

Saturday - 6/10

Timbers2 vs. North Texas SC (8 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV)

Timbers2 head into Matchday 12 riding a two-match winning streak for the first time in 2023. 

Shannon Murray’s squad rolled past MNUFC2 by a 4-2 scoreline last week, using a brace from Florian Monzon as well as goals from Tega Ikoba and Victor Griffith. Timbers2’s four goals scored were the most that they have contributed in a single MLS NEXT Pro match to date, giving the Oregon-based club plenty of confidence at Providence Park.

North Texas SC haven’t lost in regulation since April 30 and will be keen on extending their streak to seven matches on Saturday. A 2-0 home victory over Galaxy II on Sunday helped NTX rebound from four-straight shootout defeats as Anthony Ramirez scored his first two goals of 2023. Ramirez became the 10th NTX player to find the back of the net this season.

Sunday - 6/11

Columbus Crew 2 vs. Crown Legacy FC (3:30 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV)

Crown Legacy FC has already gotten the better of Columbus Crew 2 once in 2023 and Jose Tavares’ squad will be seeking a season-sweep on Sunday afternoon. 

The Eastern Conference leaders defeated Crew 2 by a 1-0 scoreline back on April 23, thanks to Patrick Agyemang’s first-half goal at Mecklenburg Sports Complex. Crown Legacy FC should be well rested after having a bye week for Matchday 11. Iuri Tavares leads the team with six goals and recently was named MLS NEXT Pro Player of the Month for May.

Crew 2 are riding a first-ever three match losing streak coming into Matchday 12 action. After falling to New England Revolution II and Philadelphia Union II on the road, Laurent Courtois’ squad fell 4-2 to Chicago Fire II last Sunday. Crew 2’s backline will need to stand strong if they want to register a first clean sheet since May 21. Marco Micaletto and Gibran Rayo have remained the go-to attackers for Crew 2 (five goals combined).

Inter Miami II vs. TFC II (6 p.m. ET,

Inter Miami II will face a demanding schedule with a double fixture on Matchday 12. Their focus will be on securing a favorable outcome against FCC2 on Thursday, with the intention of carrying that momentum into their match against TFC II on Sunday night.

TFC II may have won three of their last four matches in league play, but will try to turn their road form around on Sunday night.

Gianni Cimini’s squad have yet to win away from York Lions Stadium, a theme that Cimini and his TFC II players will be trying to change. A 3-0 Matchday 11 victory over Orlando City B witnessed Reshaun Walkes, Markus Cimermancic, and Jesus Batiz all find the back of the net. Luka Gavran registered a four-save clean sheet and remains one of the league’s top shot-stoppers in 2023.

Orlando City B vs. FC Cincinnati 2 (6 p.m. ET,

Orlando City B’s three-match unbeaten streak came to an end on Sunday and Martin Perelman will be hoping his squad can rebound at home.

A 3-0 road loss to TFC II dropped OCB to fourth in the Eastern Conference standings and also made them the only team in the top-seven to have a negative goal differential (-2). Jack Lynn’s goalscoring abilities have been a positive sight to see over recent weeks, but even he will need help if OCB wants to defeat FC Cincinnati 2 on Sunday. Lynn scored three goals in three appearances vs. FCC2 in 2022.

FCC2 will aim to conclude their two-game away stint on a positive note as they prepare to take on OCB at Osceola Heritage Park on Sunday night.

Huntsville City FC vs. St. Louis CITY2 (7 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV)

A first-ever meeting between Huntsville City FC and St. Louis CITY2 comes from Joe Davis Stadium on Sunday. 

Jack Collison’s squad have suffered back-to-back hiccups in league play, losing to New York Red Bulls II 2-1 and NYCFC II 4-3 over the last two weeks. Azaad Liadi has contributed two goals in his last three appearances, while Nebiyou Perry and Shaun Joash also found the back of the net against NYCFC II. However, a better defensive foundation will be needed after Huntsville City FC conceded four unanswered goals last weekend.

St. Louis CITY2 are riding a five-match unbeaten run into their trip to Huntsville this weekend. Bobby Murphy’s squad recently shutout Tacoma Defiance 2-0 on Monday, jumping up to seventh in the Western Conference standings. Johnny Klein has four goals in his last five appearances as he continues to be CITY2’s leading goalscoring threat in 2023.

MNUFC2 vs. Houston Dynamo 2 (7 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV)

Houston Dynamo 2 can eclipse the 20-point mark with a positive result on Sunday at MNUFC2. 

Kenny Bundy’s squad are unbeaten in four-straight matches, which features three clean sheets on the defensive side of the field. Diego Gonzalez has scored in four-consecutive appearances for Dynamo Dos, giving Bundy another dangerous attacker to call on alongside Papa Ndoye.

MNUFC2 have lost back-to-back matches for the second time in 2023, which is a major reason why they are falling in the West standings. Cameron Knowles will be hoping for a better defensive performance against Dynamo Dos after conceding four goals in each of their last two defeats. Kameron Lacey is a new face to watch for MNUFC2 after scoring twice at Timbers2 on Matchday 11.

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

The second of three meetings between NYCFC II and New York Red Bulls II comes your way on Sunday with the hosts seeking revenge.

Red Bulls II defeated NYCFC II 2-0 back on May 14, using goals from Elias Manoel and Steven Sserwadda to claim three points. Since then, Red Bulls II have won three of their last four matches, including a 4-1 home triumph against surging New England Revolution II. Ibrahim Kasule and Oladayo Thomas are tied for the club lead with three goals apiece.

NYCFC II have won three-straight matches since their rivalry loss to Red Bulls II, defeating TFC II, FC Cincinnati 2, and Huntsville City FC in recent weeks. Jack Beer, Jonathan Jimenez, and Mitchell Meyrs all have two goals apiece during this winning streak, giving Matt Pilkington plenty of options to rely on.

Earthquakes II vs. Tacoma Defiance (7:30 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV)

Tacoma Defiance has failed to win in regulation in their last four matches, putting some pressure on Wade Webber’s squad. 

The Defiance lost 2-0 to St. Louis CITY2 on Monday, which was the second time in their last three matches they have been shutout. Hal Uderitz continues to lead the team with four goals, but ultimately the Defiance will need a full team effort to start piling up the points. Tacoma hasn’t lost in regulation vs. Earthquakes II in its previous three meetings.

Earthquakes II coughed up three points on Matchday 11 against Rapids 2 and will now try and rebound at home. Goals have continued to be hard to come by for Quakes II in 2023, whom have only scored 11 so far this season. William Richmond has two of those goals and did score once against Rapids 2 last weekend.

LAFC2 vs. Colorado Rapids 2 (7:30 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV)

Colorado Rapids 2 have continued to roll during the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro season, going 11 matches without a regulation defeat so far. A dramatic 2-2 draw with Earthquakes II ended with Rapids 2 claiming two points in a 4-2 shootout win. Yosuke Hanya now has eight goals in 2023 as he continues to be one of the best players in the league.

LAFC2 fell 2-0 to Houston Dynamo 2 on Matchday 11, suffering a fifth regulation defeat through 10 matches played. In addition to their struggling start to life in MLS NEXT Pro, LAFC2 has yet to win on home soil, something that will need to change to improve up the standings. Christian Diaz and Christian Torres are two talented players to watch on both ends of the field for LAFC2.

New England Revolution II vs. Chicago Fire II (8 p.m. ET,

Two teams coming off opposite Matchday 11 results will conclude the Matchday 12 schedule at Gillette Stadium. 

Chicago Fire II earned their first win since March 31 after defeating defending MLS NEXT Pro winners Columbus Crew 2 by a 4-2 scoreline. Four different players contributed goals in the triumph, including Luka Prpa and Billy Hency. Both Prpa and Hency have been key attackers for Fire II this season and will now have the task of troubling New England Revolution II’s backline. Harold Osorio also registered three assists, continuing a positive season for him.

Revs II’s four-match winning streak ended on Sunday after a 4-1 hammering at the hands of New York Red Bulls II. Jack Panayotou’s seventh-minute equalizer made it 1-1 at MSU Soccer Park before Red Bulls II scored three unanswered goals to capture three points. Revs II have earned eight points out of their last nine available on home soil, giving Clint Peay’s squad a slight edge coming into the Matchday 12 meeting.