MLS NEXT Pro Matchday 22 Preview


A busy week of MLS NEXT Pro action continues Saturday and Sunday with Matchday 22 action across both conferences. 

After a busy midweek slate for many of the league’s teams, the regular season schedule pushes onward with points up for grabs. A three-match Saturday slate is headlined by LAFC II’s home showdown with rivals LA Galaxy II. 

Sunday’s slate opens up with Crown Legacy FC vs. Huntsville City FC in Eastern Conference play. 

The final match of the weekend comes from Starfire Sports Complex where Tacoma Defiance hosts Colorado Rapids 2. 

Here is a closer look at the Matchday 22 schedule:

Saturday- 8/12

LAFC II vs. LA Galaxy II (4 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV)

Matchday 22’s action gets underway with two California clubs aiming for a bounce-back result.

LAFC II failed to score for the second-straight match on Wednesday after falling 1-0 to visiting MNUFC2. The Western Conference club has only won one of its last six matches in league play, which included a 4-3 loss to upcoming opponents LA Galaxy II back on July 12. Yekeson Subah leads the team with three goals this season and will look to lead the way to three points at home.

LA Galaxy II also suffered a Matchday 21 loss on Wednesday, falling 6-1 to Timbers2. The result marked the third-consecutive defeat for Galaxy II, which has them sitting 13th in the Western Conference table. Axel Picazo has scored in back-to-back matches for the first time in 2023, but ultimately Galaxy II will need a team effort to snap their losing run.

Earthquakes II vs. Austin FC II (8 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV)

Earthquakes II extended their point streak to four matches on Wednesday and will now aim to move further up the West standings on Saturday. 

Daniel De Geer’s men outlasted Real Monarchs 10-9 in a shootout, moving to 35 points on the season. Eduardo Blancas scored for the second-straight match for Quakes II, continuing his positive run of form in front of goal. Blancas leads the team with six goals in 2023 and will be joined by Will Richmond in attack.

Austin FC II’s quest to catch Colorado Rapids 2 in the West continues with a trip to Earthquakes II on Saturday. Brett Uttley’s squad have earned at least one point in each of their last five matches, conceding just three goals over that span. However, Austin FC II’s road form has been spotty, failing to win in regulation in their last four away from Parmer Field. David Rodriguez and CJ Fodrey have nine combined league goals this season.

Real Monarchs vs. North Texas SC (10 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV)

North Texas SC’s two-match road trip comes to an end Saturday with a trip to Real Monarchs. 

Despite defeating Timbers2 by a 4-0 scoreline on Matchday 19, NTX slumped to a 2-1 defeat to MNUFC on Matchday 20. Four losses out of their past five matches is a worrying sign for NTX, who desperately needs to try and turn their form around. Jose Mulato remains a key offensive threat after scoring two goals in the club’s home victory over Timbers2. 

Real Monarchs have failed to win any of their last four matches in league play, most recently suffering a 10-9 shootout loss to Quakes II. Jamison Olave’s men have struggled defensively during their recent run, conceding 14 goals over the last 360 minutes of play. Five different players have contributed goals recently, including Zavier Gozo who netted his first of the season midweek.

Sunday- 8/13

Crown Legacy FC vs. Huntsville City FC (12 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV)

Two Eastern Conference clubs coming off Matchday 21 defeats will square off on Sunday afternoon. 

Crown Legacy FC suffered a shocking 3-1 road loss at ATL UTD 2, which was only the fourth regulation defeat of the campaign for the expansion side. Iuri Tavares’ seventh goal of the season propelled the East leaders ahead 1-0 but ATL UTD 2 scored three unanswered goals to claim the victory. Jose Tavares’ men have yet to defeat Huntsville City FC in regulation this season, a trend they will aim to change at home on Sunday. 

Huntsville City FC struck first on Wednesday against Columbus Crew 2 but eventually lost 5-4 in a shootout at Joe Davis Stadium. Although the expansion side didn’t walk away with two or three points, they did extend their unbeaten regulation run to four matches in league play. Azaad Liadi has scored three goals against Crown Legacy FC this season and will be one of the in-form attackers to watch.

Philadelphia Union II vs. FC Cincinnati 2 (6 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV)

Philadelphia Union II enjoyed a break from action midweek and now welcomes FC Cincinnati 2 to Subaru Park. 

Marlon LeBlanc’s squad have won three matches in a row coming into Matchday 22 and five of their last six overall. A dynamic attack and a stingy backline have both contributed to their recent success, which has allowed them to sneak above the red line in the East standings. David Vazquez and Francis Westfield both found the back of the net against NYCFC II on Matchday 20 and are just two of the talented goalscoring options in the Union II squad.

FC Cincinnati 2 will aim to snap their four-match losing streak on Saturday as their slide down the East standings continues. A 5-1 home loss to Chicago Fire II on Thursday continued a rough string of form for Tyrone Marshall’s squad. Arquimides Ordonez scored a stoppage time penalty kick for FCC2, but they will need more than just him to turn things around by summer’s end.

Chicago Fire II vs. Inter Miami II (7 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV)

Two Eastern Conference teams coming off opposite midweek results will clash at SeatGeek Stadium. 

Chicago Fire II made it back-to-back victories after downing FC Cincinnati 2 by a 5-1 scoreline. Alex Monis scored twice for Fire II while Luka Prpa, Missael Rodriguez, and Billy Hency also found the back of the net. Fire II are now sitting in seventh place in the East and could move up to fifth place with a win themselves and other results elsewhere this weekend.

Inter Miami II’s struggling run of form continued Thursday with Federico Higuain’s club conceding five goals in a lopsided loss to NYCFC II. Not much has gone right in 2023 for Inter Miami II, who have only earned three points in their last eight matches in league play. A road win will be tough to achieve, especially with Fire II having their number in the last two head-to-head meetings.

Columbus Crew 2 vs. New York Red Bulls II (7 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV)

Columbus Crew 2 extended its point streak to three matches on Wednesday night and now returns home to face New York Red Bulls II. 

A 5-4 shootout win over Huntsville City FC capped off a comeback result for Laurent Courtois’ men. Taha Habroune equalized for Crew 2 in the second half before the defending MLS NEXT Pro Champions went a perfect 5-for-5 in the shootout. Crew 2 edged Red Bulls II 3-2 in a shootout back in late-March and will be seeking another multi-point performance this time on home soil.

New York Red Bulls II will be seeking a bounce-back result after falling 2-1 at home to TFC II on Wednesday. Amos Shapiro-Thompson scored in the first half at MSU Soccer Park, but two late goals from the Canadian visitors downed Red Bulls II at home. Red Bulls II have recorded the third-best road record in the East so far in 2023, going 4-4-3 so far in 11 matches. Ibrahim Kasule and Frank Ssebufu have combined for 15 goals in league play.

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

Houston Dynamo 2 extended their winning streak to three matches and will seek a fourth-consecutive victory on Sunday against Whitecaps FC 2.

Kenny Bundy’s squad claimed their result of the season by defeating Colorado Rapids 2 by a 3-1 scoreline. Three unanswered goals by Diego Gonzalez, Isaiah Reid, and Jacob Evans helped Dynamo Dos move to fourth in the West standings and reach 10 victories on the season. Reid and Gonzalez have been in-form attackers for Dynamo Dos and will be among the ones to watch this weekend.

Whitecaps FC 2 have failed to win any of their last seven league matches coming into Sunday’s trip to Texas. Ricardo Clark’s side started the campaign strong, but have since found it tough to replicate any sort of consistency. The Canadian club has only totaled six goals over their losing streak while trying to replace Levonte Johnson’s productivity. Whitecaps FC 2 have taken points in each of their last two head-to-head meetings with Dynamo Dos, which is a promising sign coming into their final regular season showdown.

MNUFC2 vs. St. Louis CITY2 (7 p.m. ET,

MNUFC2 will be seeking to extend their winning streak to three matches Sunday against St. Louis CITY2. 

Cameron Knowles’ men picked up a second-straight victory on Wednesday, defeating LAFC II by a 1-0 scoreline. Cameron Dunbar’s first-half penalty kick goal was all the Young Loons needed to remain in seventh place in the West standings. Dunbar now has five goals in 2023, ranking him third in the club’s scoring list. 

St. Louis CITY2 enjoyed a bye week for Matchday 21 but return to action on Sunday against MNUFC2. Bobby Murphy’s squad have won their last two matches, defeating LAFC2 (4-2) and Real Monarchs (4-0). Johnny Klein has contributed three goals over the last two weeks while Joakim Nilsson and Caden Glover each have two tallies of their own. CITY2 defeated MNUFC2 by a 2-1 scoreline in their only other previous head-to-head road matchup.

New England Revolution II vs. ATL UTD 2 (7 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV)

New England Revolution II’s seven-match regulation unbeaten streak will be put to the test on Sunday against ATL UTD 2. 

Revs II outlasted Orlando City B 5-4 on Wednesday to earn a third regulation victory out of their past five matches. Jordan Adebayo-Smith netted his 10th goal of the season in the win while Jack Panayotou and Josh Bolma were also among the goalscorers in Florida. With the No. 1 seed in the East not out of reach yet, Revs II will be fighting to keep their unbeaten run going on home soil.

ATL UTD 2 snapped their five-match losing streak in style on Wednesday by defeating East leaders Crown Legacy FC 3-1. Orji Chukwuma and Nicolas Firmino both scored in the second half to put ATL UTD 2 in front for good after tying the match before halftime. Firmino continues to chase for the MLS NEXT Pro Golden Boot in 2023, totaling 13 goals so far this campaign.

NYCFC II vs. Orlando City B (7 p.m. ET,

NYCFC II snapped their three-match losing run in style on Thursday and will turn their attention towards Orlando City B on Sunday. 
Matt Pilkington’s squad routed Inter Miami II 5-0 on Thursday, using a hat trick from Matthew Myers and additional goals from Jonathan Jimenez and John Denis. Myers now has 13 goals in league play, which ties him with Nicolas Firmino for the MLS NEXT Pro Golden Boot lead. NYCFC II have yet to defeat OCB in regulation, but will try and snap that streak on home soil. 

Orlando City B suffered a second loss out of their past three matches on Wednesday, falling 5-4 at home to New England Revolution II. Despite striking first, OCB conceded their most goals since losing 6-2 to Huntsville City FC on July 9. Nabi Kibunguchy scored for the second-straight match and has remained a key player in the squad. Jack Lynn remains OCB’s top scoring threat with 12 goals in 2023.

Sporting KC II vs. Timbers2 (7 p.m. ET,

Timbers2 head into Matchday 22 off the back of their largest scoring performance of the season. 

Shannon Murray’s squad put six goals past LA Galaxy II to earn a 6-1 home victory at Providence Park. Diego Gutierrez led the way with a hat trick while three other players also found the back of the net. Timbers2 have now won three of their last five matches in regulation and are slowly moving their way up the conference standings.

After earning three impressive victories in a row, Sporting KC II have failed to win their last two in league play. Benny Feilhaber’s squad lost 3-1 on Wednesday to Tacoma Defiance, which dropped them to fifth in the West table. SKC II will now try and exact revenge against Timbers2, who they lost to 3-1 back on July 9.

Tacoma Defiance vs. Colorado Rapids 2 (11 p.m. ET,

Tacoma Defiance extended their point streak to three matches on Wednesday night and now seek a statement win on home soil this weekend. 

Wade Webber’s squad defeated Sporting KC II 3-1 on Wednesday, using a hat trick from Braudilio Rodrigues to do so. Rodrigues now has 10 goals in 2023, propelling himself as the leading attacking option for the Defiance this summer. The Defiance have won seven of their 10 home matches to date, giving them a major confidence boost ahead of Sunday’s showdown with Rapids 2.

Colorado Rapids 2’s up-and-down form continued Wednesday with a 3-1 home loss to Houston Dynamo 2. Erik Bushey’s squad have lost two of their last three matches, which has allowed Austin FC II to remain in the race for the West’s No. 1 seed. Rapids 2 have yet to defeat Tacoma in three previous meetings dating back to last season, a trend that will need to change if they want to rebound against top opposition.