Matchday Preview

MLS NEXT Pro Matchday 21 Preview

Matchday 21 in MLS NEXT Pro includes midweek action, with plenty of intriguing matchups. In the Western Conference, two of the strongest teams of late face off with Houston Dynamo 2 traveling to face Colorado Rapids 2. Two of the top talents in the league face off in the Eastern Conference, with goalscorers Nick Firmino and Patrick Agyemang representing Atlanta United 2 and Crown Legacy FC, respectively.

Here is what to watch for in each matchup on Matchday 21.

Wednesday 8/9

Orlando City B vs. New England Revolution II (6 p.m. ET,

Orlando City B has not beaten New England Revolution II since 2020. The squad looks to get back on track at Osceola Heritage Stadium after two winless matches in road trips. Meanwhile, Revs II are on a three-game unbeaten run on the road.

Revs II endured a shootout loss last time out against the surging New York Red Bulls II, and Clint Peay's side is still locked in a struggle for second place in the Eastern Conference with Columbus Crew 2. Orlando City B looks to improve from fourth place in the Eastern Conference, with Jack Lynn leading the attack with 12 goals in 2023.

Huntsville City FC vs. Columbus Crew 2 (7 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV)

Huntsville City FC and Crew 2 are two of the hottest teams in MLS NEXT Pro at the moment, and each side has a lot to gain from this clash. Crew 2 are fighting to solidify a second-place standing in the conference, while HCFC can make their playoff position a lot more comfortable amid a tight battle in the midtable.

Both sides boast strong back lines, with both clubs entering this match coming off two clean sheets in a row. HCFC's Nebiyou Perry scored the only goal in a 1-0 win over FC Cincinnati 2 over the weekend, while Crew 2 blasted past TFC II 4-0 thanks to two goals from Marco Micaletto.

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

New York Red Bulls II looked to join the competition for Eastern Conference second-place with a thrilling shootout win over Revs II last weekend. Red Bulls II looks to extend an unbeaten run to four games at MSU Soccer Stadium in welcoming TFC II.

TFC II's momentum was brought to a halt with a 4-0 loss to Crew 2 last weekend, but the club previously enjoyed good form and will look to prove its previous loss was just a blip. Jesus Batiz leads TFC II in attack with eight goals, while 19-year-old Ibrahim Kasule remains in fine form for Red Bulls II with three goals in his last five games.

Atlanta United 2 vs. Crown Legacy FC (7:30 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV)

The last meeting between these teams saw Crown Legacy come away with three points in a 3-1 home win. That loss started a five-game losing run that ATL UTD 2 is still looking to break free from. This meeting will be a tough test for ATL UTD 2, but it's also a big opportunity to improve.

Eastern Conferece leaders Crown Legacy are powered by striker Patrick Agyemang, who has netted nine goals in 2023. Agyemang and the potent Crown Legacy attack faces off against another standout MLS NEXT Pro talent in ATL UTD 2's Nick Firmino, who has scored a league-leading 12 goals.

Colorado Rapids 2 vs. Houston Dynamo 2 (8 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV)

This is an intriguing matchup that pits the Western Conference leaders against one of the hottest teams in the conference. Dynamo Dos forward Papa Ndoye has earned back-to-back Player of the Matchday honors and looks to follow-up back-to-back hat tricks, a feat that had never been done previously in MLS NEXT Pro. Rapids 2 are coming off a similarly successful venture last time out, with a 6-2 win over Whitecaps FC 2.

Rapids 2 showed their versatility in the win, with Remi Cabral and Darren Yapi scoring braces, and Oliver Larraz picking up three assists. Dynamo Dos put in a solid performance in a home win against Sporting KC II, downing an in-form side thanks to Ndoye's excellent finishing.

Los Angeles Football Club 2 vs. MNUFC2 (10 p.m. ET,

MNUFC2 makes the trip to Los Angeles enjoying strong form, with eight points from the last four matches. Striker Cameron Dunbar scored twice in a 2-1 win over North Texas SC last time out, but a win in this midweek clash would be MNUFC2's first road win in four months.

LAFC2 fought hard to a shootout loss against Austin FC II last weekend, and will take confidence from a strong defensive performance against one of the Western Conference's top sides.

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

Real Monarchs will face a tough test on Wednesday against one of MLS NEXT Pro's top road teams in Earthquakes II. Quakes II are on a two-game winning streak, with both wins coming away from home. Meanwhile, Real Monarchs are searching for their first MLS NEXT Pro win since July 9.

Terron Williams scored the only goal in a 1-0 win for Real Monarchs in their previous meeting with Quakes II. Quakes II lies fifth in the Western Conference, embroiled in a struggle for position with several other teams.

Tacoma Defiance vs. Sporting Kansas City II (10 p.m. ET,

This is one of the most intriguing matches in the Western Conference, with third-place Tacoma Defiance seeking to fend off Sporting KC II, which lies three points behind in fourth. Benny Feilhaber's squad suffered a loss to Dynamo Dos last time out, but has climbed up the table in recent weeks.

Wade Webber's Defiance side previously suffered a shootout loss at Sporting KC II in June. Defiance have taken five points from the previous two games, with Gio Miglietti scoring against Whitecaps FC 2 and delivering the decisive spot kick in a shootout win over Timbers2.

Timbers2 vs. LA Galaxy II (10:30 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV)

Both sides are looking to generate some momentum from this Western Conference clash, with Timbers2 lying 10th in the conference and Galaxy II five points behind in 13th.

T2 has taken seven points from the previous four matches, with top scorer Florian Monzon notching an equalizer in a shootout loss to Defiance last weekend. Galaxy II are looking for answers in the attacking third, with three straight losses and one goal scored in the past three games.

Thursday 8/10

FC Cincinnati 2 vs. Chicago Fire FC II (7 p.m. ET,

Chicago Fire FC II enjoyed a successful July and heads into this match having lost only once in the past six games. Meanwhile, FC Cincinnati searches to get back on track after three straight shutout losses.

Fire II, lying eighth in the Eastern Conference, is on the cusp of moving into playoff contention. FCC2 previously earned a shootout win over Fire II this season, with goalkeeper Paul Walters playing one of his best matches of the season.

NYCFC II vs. Inter Miami II (8 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV)

NYCFC II welcomes Inter Miami II to Belson Stadium, seeking to break free from a three-game losing streak. Inter Miami II is experience similarly difficult form, but a shootout win over Orlando City B brings Federico Higuain's side some confidence.

NYCFC II finds itself outside of a playoff position in ninth in the Eastern Conference. The club's attack has excelled at times in 2023, with striker Matthew Myers scoring 10 goals, but has recently struggled, suffering two shutout losses in a row.