The final two weeks of the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro regular season is upon us and six playoff spots are still up for grabs.
Matchday 27’s schedule kicks off Friday with Orlando City B, Chicago Fire II, and NYCFC II all still in the mix to make the postseason. Austin FC II hosts Colorado Rapids 2 in a showdown of two of the top-three teams in the Western Conference.
Saturday features Earthquakes II’s trip to Whitecaps FC 2. A loss for Quakes II paired with other results elsewhere this weekend could eliminate them from playoff contention.
Sunday’s heavy slate features a top-two Eastern Conference showdown between Crown Legacy FC and New England Revolution II. Sporting KC II also visits MNUFC2 in Western Conference play.
Here is a closer look at the Matchday 27 schedule:
Friday - 9/15
NYCFC II vs. TFC II (5 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV)
NYCFC II enters Matchday 27 needing a victory to boost their chances of making the MLS NEXT Pro Playoffs.
Matt Pilkington’s squad have won their last two matches over Philadelphia Union 2 and Columbus Crew 2 to stay in the playoff picture. Jonathan Jimenez and Matthew Myers both scored once apiece in those victories and remain an in-form attacking duo to watch at Belson Stadium. NYCFC II has won its last two meetings with TFC II and three of its five showdowns overall.
TFC II’s 5-3 loss to Philadelphia Union 2 ended their playoff hopes, but Gianni Cimini’s men could still play a spoiler role this weekend. Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty, Myles Morgan, and Reshaun Walkes all scored in the road defeat on Friday and will be eager to end NYCFC II’s playoff hopes with a road victory.
Chicago Fire II vs. Orlando City B (7 p.m. ET, MLSNEXTPro.com)
Two Eastern Conference clubs still aiming to solidify their playoff places will clash from SeatGeek Stadium on Friday.
Only one point separates Orlando City B and Chicago Fire II heading into Matchday 27 action. OCB fell 3-2 in a shootout to Revs II this past weekend as Jack Lynn netted his league-leading 18th goal of the campaign. Lynn has remained a one-man wrecking crew for OCB in 2023 and might need another heroic performance to lead OCB past Fire II in Bridgeview this weekend.
Chicago Fire II has only lost one of its last seven matches in regulation, most recently defeating Sporting KC II by a 3-2 scoreline. Luka Prpa scored twice in the comeback road victory while Dylan Borso netted the winning goal. Prpa’s seven goals are tied for the team lead this season while his seven assists are two more than the next player in the Fire II ranks.
Austin FC II vs. Colorado Rapids 2 (9 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV)
Austin FC II could desperately use a statement win on Friday night when Colorado Rapids 2 comes to town.
Brett Uttley’s squad have been forced into shootout in three of their last four matchups, picking up just four points over that span. ATX II remains one of the best home teams in 2023, registering a 9-2-2 record at Parmer Field this season. However, Rapids 2 have gotten the better of them twice earlier this season, putting added pressure on the hosts to deliver a complete performance. Valentin Noel and Sebastien Pineau have 12 combined goals in 2023.
Colorado Rapids 2 head into Matchday 27 with four victories in their past five matches. Erik Bushey’s squad have looked to turn the tide after a few hiccups earlier this summer. Remi Cabral and Oli Larraz both scored in a recent 2-0 triumph over Real Monarchs, continuing strong individual campaigns for them both. Cabral has scored in each of Rapids 2’s last four wins and will be tough for the ATX II backline to stop.
LAFC2 vs. Timbers 2 (10 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV)
Two eliminated Western Conference teams will seek a strong end to the season, starting with a victory this weekend.
LAFC 2 welcomes Timbers2 to town after defeating rivals LA Galaxy II by a 2-1 scoreline last weekend. Christopher Jaime and Jeremy Batioja both found the back of the net for LAFC II, giving them their third road result of 2023. Jaime has been one of LAFC 2’s more consistent players with over 1,700 minutes under his belt.
Timbers2 have lost back-to-back matches and could desperately use a victory to end that run. A 3-1 home loss to Houston Dynamo 2 continued a worrying run of form for Shannon Murray’s men, who overall have lost four of their last five matches. Florian Monzon remains a top attacking talent for Timbers2, leading the team with nine goals this season.
Real Monarchs vs. Tacoma Defiance (10 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV)
Tacoma Defiance will be seeking to extend their winning run to five matches with three points in Utah on Friday.
Wade Webber’s squad have won their last three matches in regulation, outscoring their opponents 11-4 over that span. Despite falling down to 10-men at Starfire Sports Complex, the Defiance held on for a 3-2 result over Earthquakes II thanks to goals from Paul Rothrock, Braudilio Rodrigues, and Reed Baker-Whiting. The Defiance could clinch the No. 2 seed in the West with three points and a dropped result for Austin FC II this weekend.
Real Monarchs’ five-match unbeaten run came to an end on Saturday after suffering a 2-0 home loss to Colorado Rapids 2. Jamison Olave’s men won’t be heading to the playoffs, but could still end the season with back-to-back wins. Defender Bobby Pierre has been key in the back with over 1,700 minutes played in 2023.
Whitecaps FC 2 vs. Earthquakes II (10 p.m. ET, MLSNEXTPro.com)
Earthquakes II will ultimately hope for three points on Saturday against already-eliminated Whitecaps FC 2.
Daniel De Geer’s men lost 3-2 to Tacoma Defiance on Matchday 26, which was their third loss out of the past five matches. A streaky run of form is worrying for Quakes II, who are on the outside of the playoff bubble in the Western Conference. Eduardo Blancas is riding a good scoring run of late for Quakes II, scoring in each of his last four matches, giving him 10 total goals in 2023.
Whitecaps FC 2 saw their playoff hopes come to an end last weekend and will be hoping to take Quakes II with them this weekend. Three-consecutive losses have continued a 12-match regulation winless streak for Ricardo Clark’s men, who struggled heavily this summer. Goals have been a major issue for the Canadian club, who have failed to score in four of their last five matches overall.
Sunday - 9/17
Philadelphia Union II vs. Huntsville City FC (4 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV)
Philadelphia Union II’s playoff quest could come to an end this weekend unless they earn a favorable result at home against Huntsville City FC.
Union II snapped a four-match losing streak on Friday by putting five goals past TFC II in a 5-3 victory. Chris Donovan scored twice for Marlon LeBlanc’s squad while Francis Westfield, Stefan Stojanovic, and Jeremy Rafanello also found the back of the net. Union II’s dynamic attack will be hard for Huntsville City FC to stop, especially with a playoff spot on the line for both teams.
Huntsville City FC have lost two-straight matches and three of their last four overall in league play. Jack Collison’s squad are in the top-seven heading into the weekend, but things could change by the time his team takes the field at Subaru Park. Huntsville City FC rolled past Union II by a 5-2 scoreline back in August with Azaad Liadi scoring a hat trick in the process.
Crown Legacy FC vs. New England Revolution II (5 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV)
The top-two teams in the East will meet in North Carolina with a major point to prove.
Crown Legacy FC are unbeaten in five-straight matches, most recently fighting back to defeat New York Red Bulls II by a 4-2 shootout scoreline. Joao Guilherme’s 88th-minute equalizer helped force the shootout before Jose Tavares’ men went four-for-five at the spot. Revenge will certainly be on Crown Legacy FC’s mind after losing 3-1 in Foxborough back in July.
Revs II are riding a 12-match regulation unbeaten streak coming into Sunday’s showdown, remaining a major threat in the Eastern Conference. Clint Peay’s squad are brimming with confidence and very well could pull a shock on the road. Jordan Adebayo-Smith and Marcos Dias have combined for 20 goals and seven assists in 2023, remaining a productive 1-2 attacking punch.
FC Cincinnati 2 vs. Columbus Crew 2 (6 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV)
FC Cincinnati 2 will not be headed to the postseason, but will be eager to knock off rivals Columbus Crew 2 on Sunday.
Tyrone Marshall’s squad have lost back-to-back matches coming into Matchday 27 and ultimately will be playing a bit freely with two matches left on their schedule. FCC2 has only defeated Crew 2 once in MLS NEXT Pro play, earning a 4-2 shootout result last season with Arquimides Ordonez and Calvin Harris both finding the back of the net.
Crew 2 suffered a 5-2 setback on Sunday against NYCFC II and will be eager to turn things around heading into the playoffs. The defending MLS NEXT Pro champs have struggled for consistency this summer, losing three of their last five matches and ultimately taking a step back from last season’s successes. Gibran Rayo leads the team with 10 goals and remains one of the top acquisitions this season.
MNUFC2 vs. Sporting KC II (6 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV)
MNUFC2 will be looking to clinch their playoff berth on Sunday with three points at home against Sporting KC II.
Cameron Knowles’ squad have not won in regulation over their past five matches, but are 3-0 in shootouts over that span. A 9-8 shootout win over Austin FC II on Matchday 25 featured a team-leading 10th goal of the campaign for Kameron Lacey, who has remained a key performer for the club. MNUFC2 have lost two of their previous three meetings with SKC II in league play.
Sporting KC II’s four-match winning run came to an end Sunday after losing 3-2 at home to Chicago Fire II. Benny Feilhaber’s men took a 2-0 lead into halftime before the wheels came off at Rock Chalk Park. SKC II have already clinched a playoff berth this summer, but will be seeking a positive run of form over their final two matches.
St. Louis CITY2 vs. LA Galaxy II (6 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV)
St. Louis CITY2 will return to the MLS NEXT Pro Playoffs with a victory on Sunday against LA Galaxy II.
Bobby Murphy’s men have won their last four matches and overall haven’t lost in regulation since July 9. Faysal Bettache continued his strong run of form by scoring his fifth goal in the past three matches. Bettache will once again be joined by John Klein as two of their most consistent scoring threats this summer for CITY2.
LA Galaxy II will seek to snap a two-match losing streak, which continued after a 2-1 loss to LAFC 2. Aaron Bibout has been Galaxy II’s key player in 2023, scoring 13 goals and adding five assists in MLS NEXT Pro play. The 19-year-old will be pushing to add to his goal tally over the next two weeks ahead of what could be a busy offseason for him.
Houston Dynamo 2 vs. North Texas SC (6:30 p.m. ET, MLS Season Pass on Apple TV)
Houston Dynamo 2 will aim to solidify their playoff place on Sunday with a Texas Derby win over North Texas SC.
Dynamo Dos defeated Timbers2 by a 3-1 scoreline, keeping them in the top-seven of the Western Conference. Diego Gonzalez, Tate Lampman, and Isaiah LeFlore all scored goals in the road win, moving them one point clear of the red line. Gonzalez has joined Papa Ndoye as the only other Dynamo Dos player to register double-digit goals in 2023. The duo have 22 combined goals this season.
North Texas SC will be seeking to spoil the party by rebounding from a Matchday 25 loss to Colorado Rapids 2. NTX have only won one of their last five matches in regulation, which ultimately hurt them in the playoff race out West. Revenge will be on their minds certainly after failing to defeat Dynamo Dos in any of their previous five matchups.
ATL UTD 2 vs. Inter Miami II (7:30 p.m. ET, MLSNEXTPro.com)
ATL UTD 2 can stay alive for a playoff spot with three points at home on Sunday against Inter Miami II.
A 96th minute winner from Jackson Conway helped ATL UTD 2 earn a 2-1 road win over Huntsville City FC on Sunday. Steve Cooke’s men have won three of their last five matches and will need to do so this weekend to have a chance of reaching the postseason on Decision Day. ATL UTD 2 rolled past Inter Miami II 5-0 back in June and will be favorited to earn a result once again.
Inter Miami II snapped its 12-match regulation winless streak on Sunday after defeating FC Cincinnati 2 by a 3-0 scoreline. Tye Barton, Santiago Morales, and Nykolas Sessock all scored goals in the home win to give the Inter Miami II players a major boost of confidence. Inter Miami II defeated ATL UTD 2 once in 2023 and will be looking to spoil their playoff chances at Fifth Third Bank Stadium.