MLS NEXT Pro Matchday 22: Recap Blitz

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This weekend's Matchday 22 in MLS NEXT Pro produced more excellent individual performances, with seven braces and one hat trick setting the record for the highest number of two-or-more-goal games from individual players in a single matchday.

Crown Legacy FC triumphed as the first MLS NEXT Pro side to clinch a playoff berth in 2023, and Western Conference leader Rapids 2 followed suit to close out Matchday 22 action. Other results included important steps toward the playoffs and incredible comebacks.

Here is a closer look at the results from MLS NEXT Pro Matchday 22:

Crown Legacy FC (1) - Huntsville City FC (0)

Crown Legacy FC clinched the playoffs with Sunday's win, becoming the first team in MLS NEXT Pro to clinch a playoff berth this season. Iuri Tavares handed his team three points with a goal in the first minute of second-half stoppage time.

Tavares connected for a shot on a ball that sailed into the box after a deflected cross. Crown Legacy ended a four-game unbeaten run for HCFC, which continues to vie for a playoff berth in the middle of the Eastern Conference table.

Philadelphia Union II (1) - FC Cincinnati 2 (2)

A goal from Malik Pinto early in the second half allowed FC Cincinnati to take all three points in this Eastern Conference clash. FCC2 found its first win since July 16.

Benjamin Stitz opened the scoring with a curling a shot into the top right corner in the 10th minute. Stefan Stojanovic leveled the match in the 17th minute with a strong finish after a long run forward. Malik Pinto's 47th-minute goal proved to make the difference on behalf of the visitors.

Chicago Fire FC II (2) - Inter Miami II (2) (Fire II wins shootout 5-4)

Chicago Fire FC II mounted a two-goal comeback, and goalkeeper Mihajlo Miskovic made a shootout save to lock up two points at SeatGeek Stadium.

Inter Miami II's Miles Perkovich made two excellent finishes in the 34th and 39th minutes to hand his side a 2-0 lead. Luka Prpa pulled a goal back before halftime, and Romain Blake found the back of the net in the 70th minute to tie it up.

Inter Miami II continues to stay alive in the playoff race by picking up one point. Fire II remains in the fight for a playoff berth at sixth in the Eastern Conference table.

Columbus Crew 2 (0) - New York Red Bulls II (5)

Five New York Red Bulls II players scored Ibrahim Sekagya's side made up ground in its pursuit of second-place in the Eastern Conference. Matthew Nocita led Red Bulls II with a goal and an assist.

Wikelman Carmona and Frank Ssebufu scored in the first half to put Red Bulls II up 2-0 at half. Matthew Nocita scored in the 61st minute, with Ibrahim Kasule scoring two minutes later to make it 4-0. Mohammed Sofo scored in the 74th minute to complete an excellent team showing from Red Bulls II.

Red Bulls II have now won three of their last five games. Crew 2 remains in third place, but Red Bulls II pulled within one point in a tight race toward the top of the table.

Houston Dynamo 2 (0) - Whitecaps FC 2 (0) (Dynamo Dos wins shootout 3-2)

Houston Dynamo 2 stretched its current unbeaten run to four games with a shootout win following a scoreless result against Whitecaps FC 2.

Whitecaps FC 2 goalkeeper Isaac Boehmer made seven saves to push the match to a shootout. Whitecaps FC 2 fended off 23 shots from Dynamo Dos. 

Dynamo Dos continues as one of the hottest teams in MLS NEXT Pro, at fifth in the Western Conference. Whitecaps FC 2 picked up a point, but remain seven points outside of a playoff position at ninth in the conference.

MNUFC2 (2) - St Louis CITY2 (2) (MNUFC2 wins shootout 4-3)

Four first-half goals left MNUFC2 and St Louis CITY2 level, but MNUFC2 came away with the extra point when the dust settled after the shootout.

Faysal Bettache opened scoring in the 13th minute. MNUFC2's Kameron Lacey equalized in the 18th minute and Molik Khan scored in the 40th minute to take the lead. John Klein leveled the match just before halftime.

MNUFC2 moved into fifth in the Western Conference with the two points. CITY2 remains on the outside of the playoffs looking in at eighth place.

New England Revolution II (5) - Atlanta United 2 (1)

New England Revolution II went four points clear of Crew 2 in second place in the Eastern Conference, and stretched an unbeaten run to eight matches with an outstanding performance in a 5-1 win over Atlanta United 2. Jordan Adebayo-Smith starred for Revs II with two goals.

Damian Rivera opened scoring for Revs II with an excellent dribbling move to make space for a shot. Jackson Conway equalized for ATL UTD 2, but Revs II took it from there with Adebayo-Smith scoring in the 67th minute, Esmir Bajraktarevic scoring in the 80th minute, and Adebayo-Smith adding his second in the 90th minute. Noble Okello finished the rout with a goal in stoppage time.

NYCFC II (3) - Orlando City B (4)

Braces for Shakur Mohammed and Jack Lynn guided Orlando City B to a comeback 4-3 win over NYCFC II at Belson Stadium. Mohammed, who also notched an assist, scored the game-winner in the 87th minute.

NYCFC II established a 3-1 lead by the 55th minute, with Matthew Myers scoring two goals and a 19th-minute goal from Jack Beer.

OCB earned its first win in three games, and maintained its fifth-place position in the Eastern Conference. NYCFC II fell to its fourth loss in the last five games.

Sporting Kansas City II (6) - Timbers2 (1)

A hat trick from Alenis Vargas, plus three more goals for Benny Feilhaber's side, landed Sporting Kansas City II three points at Rock Chalk Park.

Vargas scored the first two goals of the game with strong finishes, on the end of a Lucas Rosa cross in the eighth minute and from a Josh Coan assist in the 24th minute. Rosa scored the third goal, and finished with a goal and an assist.

Vargas completed his hat trick with a penalty kick in the 53rd minute. Coan and Ethan Bryant scored in the second half to complete a strong performance from SKC II.

T2 found itself on the other end of a heavy scoreline just days after claiming a 6-1 win over LA Galaxy II. SKC II maintained its place in fourth in the Western Conference.

Tacoma Defiance (1) - Colorado Rapids 2 (3)

It probably shouldn't be a surprise that Rapids 2 saved the best for last. 

The best in the West closed out Matchday 22 with a win over a foe they had yet to beat in the MLS NEXT Pro era. 

Dillon Serna, Yosuke Hanya, and Remi Cabral knew a win would send their side to the MLS NEXT Pro playoffs and gracefully handled the occasion with goal contributions. The win over another Western Conference powerhouse should be a huge boost that puts Matchday 21's loss to Dynamo 2 firmly in the rearview.


Real Monarchs (1) - North Texas SC (1)

Ilijah Paul's stoppage-time equalizer allowed Real Monarchs to pull two points from Saturday's home clash against North Texas SC. Real Monarchs goalkeeper Derrek Chan made one shootout save to take a 4-2 win.

Jose Mulato opened scoring for North Texas in the 32nd minute, dribbling and finishing from close range. Paul finished a set-piece opportunity to tie the match in the third minute of four given minutes of stoppage time.

The shootout win was Real Monarchs first shootout triumph since June 9. Real Monarchs maintained an advantage over North Texas in the season series between the sides, with one win and one shootout win in two meetings.

Earthquakes II (0) - Austin FC II (2)

Austin FC II's excellent defense claimed another clean sheet, while Sebastien Pineau scored a brace to allow his side to take all three points.

Pineau punched in a rebounded save directly in front of goal to notch his first goal in the 49th minute. He sealed the win in the 89th minute, dribbling from midfield before netting a powerful shot.

Austin FC II maintained its position in second in the Western Conference with the win. Quakes II ended an unbeaten streak at four games, and remain fourth in the conference.

Los Angeles Football Club 2 (6) - LA Galaxy II (0)

Los Angeles Football Club 2 wowed in the second edition of 'El Trafichico,' scoring six goals. LAFC2's highest scoring output of the season also tied the MLS NEXT Pro 2023 mark for highest margin of victory.

LAFC2 led 4-0 at halftime, with two goals from Leonardo Flores, plus goals from Jeremy Batioja and Nathan Ordaz. Erik Duenas and Christian Torres scored in the second half.

LAFC2's win means the series is split between the two Los Angeles sides. LA Galaxy II won the inaugural rivalry match 4-3 on July 12.