MLS NEXT Pro Matchday 28: Recap Blitz


Decision Day in MLS NEXT Pro provided late drama as teams vied for playoff spots in the final matchday of the season.

In the Eastern Confernece, Philadelphia Union II claimed a playoff spot on the last day of the season, defeating New York Red Bulls II by a 3-1 score. In the Western Conference, Earthquakes II made a statement by defeating Los Angeles Football Club 2 to narrowly make the playoffs.

Here are all the results from Decision Day in MLS NEXT Pro.

Columbus Crew 2 (3) - Atlanta United 2 (2)

A goal and assist from Gibran Rayo guided Columbus Crew 2 to three points to finish off an excellent season for a side heavy with academy talent. Rayo scored a penalty kick in the 31st minute and assisted an Abdi Mohamed goal in the 19th minute.

Marco Micaletto supplied Crew 2's first goal in the second minute. ATL UTD 2 made a comeback attempt after falling behind 3-0. Noah Cobb scored in the 37th minute, and David Mejia added a second in the 82nd minute.

Crew 2 finishes the season in third in the Eastern Conference with 54 points and will play a home playoff game. ATL UTD 2 missed out on the playoffs at 10th in the Eastern Conference.

Huntsville City FC (2) - Chicago Fire FC II (2) (Fire II wins shootout 4-2)

Chicago Fire FC II finished off an incredible recovery to end the season, losing only two in the final nine games of the regular season. Fire II prevented Huntsville City FC's playoff chances, triumphing in a four-round shootout.

Nebiyou Perry opened scoring for HCFC in the seventh minute with a smooth finish from just outside the box. Fire II equalized with a goal from Omari Glasgow in the 10th minute. Billy Hency put Fire II in the lead in the 25th minute, but HCFC's Jonathan Bolanos leveled the match in the 36th minute.

Fire II finish the season in sixth in the Eastern Conference and continue in the playoffs. HCFC completed a memorable season that included the opening of Joe Davis Stadium.

Inter Miami II (2) - NYCFC II (3)

NYCFC II completed a comeback to lock up three points, but despite the win away from home, Matt Pilkington's side missed out on the playoffs by only one point because of results elsewhere. NYCFC II's John Denis scored twice and Matthew Myers scored to tie Orlando City B's Jack Lynn for the Golden Boot lead at 19 goals.

Miles Perkovich opened scoring in the 16th minute, but NYCFC II equalized through Denis in the 25th minute. Felipe Valencia put Inter Miami back ahead in the 48th minute, but Myers scored to tie the match 2-2. Denis struck again, meeting a ball cutting back from the touch line to score his second goal in the 70th minute.

New York Red Bulls II (1) - Philadelphia Union II (3)

Philadelphia Union II emerged as one of the biggest winners on Decision Day, making the playoffs with an impressive 3-1 result against New York Red Bulls II. 

Union II went ahead 2-0 by halftime with an impressive free-kick strike from Jeremy Rafanello in the 20th minute and another incredible strike from outside the box from Hugo Le Guennec in first-half stoppage time. Red Bulls II came within one goal as Julian Hall scored in the 73rd minute, but Union II sealed the win with David Vasquez scoring in the 92nd minute.

Union II made the playoffs on the final day with 42 points in the Eastern Conference. Red Bulls II finished off a strong regular season in fourth in the Eastern Conference with 51 points.

Orlando City B (2) - FC Cincinnati 2 (1)

Orlando City B locked up fifth place in the Eastern Conference with a win over FC Cincinnati 2 to finish the regular season.

Jack Lynn scored his 19th goal for OCB with a header off a set piece in the 16th minute. Ryan Belal left a defender in the dust in the 61st minute to equalize for FCC2. OCB struck again just two minutes later, with Shakur Mohammed scoring from a tight angle on the right side.

TFC II (0) - Crown Legacy FC (4)

Crown Legacy FC finished off a dominant season in a fitting way: scoring four goals and notching a shutout in a win over TFC II. Jose Tavares' side had already clinched the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Jacob Williams scored a brace with goals in the 15th and 66th minutes. Iuri Tavares assisted Williams' second goal and added one of his own in the 84th minute. Nikola Petkovic also added a goal for Crown Legacy in the 78th minute.

Western Conference

Colorado Rapids 2 (4) - MNUFC2 (2)

Colorado Rapids 2 finished off an incredible season strongly, with a 4-2 win over MNUFC2. Remi Cabral scored a hat trick as Rapids 2 came from behind to prevent MNUFC2 from a playoff position.

Rapids 2's Jackson Travis opened scoring in the 49th minute, but MNUFC2 grabbed the lead with goals from Loic Mesanvi and Kage Romanshyn in the 52nd and 59th minutes. Cabral scored three unanswered goals in the 71st, 89th and 90+3rd minutes.

Rapids 2 had already locked up the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, while MNUFC2 narrowly fell short of the playoffs with the loss. MNUFC2, tied on points with Dynamo 2, missed out because of the wins tiebreaker.

Earthquakes II (1) - Los Angeles Football Club 2 (0)

Earthquakes II punched a ticket into the playoffs with a win over Los Angeles Football Club 2. A lone goal from Ousseni Bouda in the 56th minute allowed Quakes II to take three points.

Bouda's goal came thanks to Quakes II's high pressing. The team won the ball high up the field, leading to a pass into the center of the box to Bouda from Eduardo Blancas.

Quakes II fended off Houston Dynamo 2, who also won on Decision Day, to claim the final playoff spot at eighth place in the Western Conference.

LA Galaxy II (1) - Houston Dynamo 2 (2)

Houston Dynamo 2 took care of its end of business on Decision Day, making the playoffs on the heels of a win over LA Galaxy II.

Papa Ndoye scored his 14th goal of the season to open scoring in the 19th minute. Galaxy II equalized in the 59th minute with a goal from Gino Vivi. Talen Maples scored the winner for Dynamo Dos in the 71st minute.

Dynamo Dos finish the season tied on 43 points with MNUFC2. However, Dynamo Dos punched a playoff ticket with the edge on total wins.

North Texas SC (3) - Austin FC II (1)

North Texas SC battled weather delays to get their first ever win over Austin FC II at Choctaw Stadium. Two first-half goals gave North Texas SC a comfortable lead before Jose Mulato knocked in the third goal for North Texas SC in the 46th minute. 

Austin FC II's Sebastian Pineau scored his seventh goal of the campaign to make the score 3-1 but it wasn't enough as North Texas SC ended their season on a high note to earn their three points. 

With the loss, Austin FC II failed to grab one of the the top three seeds in the West and will have to wait until Tacoma Defiance and Sporting KC II pick their opponent before finding out who they'll be facing in the first round of 2023 MLS NEXT Pro playoffs.

Sporting Kansas City II (1) - St Louis CITY2 (1) (SKC II wins shootout 4-3)

Sporting Kansas City II earned the fourth seed in the Western Conference, while St Louis CITY2 finished fifth in the Western Conference. SKCII goalkeeper John Pulskamp made one save in a shootout win for his side.

Faysal Bettache opened scoring in the 66th minute with a shot from outside the box that hit the left post and went in the net. SKC II leveled things in the 74th minute through a goal from Robert Voloder.

CITY2 had the opportunity to surpass SKC II for the fourth seed in the Western Conference, but Voloder's equalizer proved instrumental to holding onto fourth for Benny Feilhaber's side.

Tacoma Defiance (3) - Whitecaps FC 2 (3) (Defiance wins shootout 5-4)

Tacoma Defiance approaches the playoffs with a shootout win over Whitecaps FC 2. Defiance finishes the regular season with the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference. Paul Rothrock's equalizer in the third minute of stoppage time paved the way for two points in this match, despite a hat trick from Whitecaps FC 2's Lowell Wright. Rothrock also scored the decisive goal in the shootout.

Wright put his side ahead in the 46th minute. Defiance's Dylan Teves equalized in the 59th minute, and Defiance went ahead 2-1 on an own goal. Wright equalized with his second goal in the 68th minute, and Whitecaps FC 2 went ahead 3-2 as Wright completed his hat trick in the 73rd minute.

Timbers2 (2) - Real Monarchs (1)

Timbers2 finished the season on a positive note, earning a home win thanks to goals from Florian Monzon and Josh Penn. All three goals in this match came in a three-minute span.

Monzon opened scoring with his 10th goal of the season in the eighth minute. Penn added another only two minutes later. Real Monarchs' Gershon Henry pulled a goal back less than a minute later.