Week nine of the MLS NEXT Pro season gets underway this weekend, highlighted by the Game of the Week in Real Monarchs vs North Texas SC. Two games will take place Friday evening followed by five on Saturday and three on Sunday.
Paypal Park will play host to this Western Conference clash in the two sides first meeting this season. Each side is coming into the contest with two straight wins, while Earthquakes II are riding an impressive 7-1 victory over Rapids 2 in week eight.
Earthquakes II sit 7th in the West with SKC II just one spot behind them in eighth, with both level on points at 10-a-piece. It will be a battle between two Western Conference playoff contenders.
This game has been chosen as the MLS NEXT Pro Game of the Week and the extended preview can be found here.
The 4th ranked Eastern Conference side in NYCFC II will host 8th place Chicago Fire II.
NYCFC II are coming off of a disappointing 1-0 home loss to Columbus Crew 2 in week eight, while Fire II are unbeaten in their past three matches.
NYCFC II are the highest goal-scoring side in MLS NEXT Pro, with 20 goals scored, while Chicago Fire II have only found the back of the net eight times in seven matches.
In a battle between Florida’s finest MLS NEXT Pro sides, OCB2 will host their cross-state rivals in an Eastern Conference clash.
OCB2 haven’t claimed three points since week 1 this season, whereas Inter Miami II are on a three game skid that hasn’t seen them claim points since week 5.
The two sides met in week three, with Inter Miami II taking all three points in a 2-0 win at DRV PNK Stadium.
RNY FC are coming off their biggest win of the season, a 4-1 victory over Inter Miami II and have won two straight in league play. Union II on the other hand, are unbeaten in their last four and have won three straight matches.
In their first meeting of the season, with both sides in-form, it will be one of the top matches to keep an eye on as the weekend rolls ahead.
WFC2 are coming off a disappointing 1-0 loss to North Texas SC in week eight, but were riding six matches unbeaten before the contest. MNUFC2 have gone five matches unbeaten since starting the season 0-2, but haven’t claimed three points since week five.
WFC2 find themselves sitting 3rd in the West with 15 points while MNUFC2 are just behind them in 5th with 13 points. With three points, MNUFC2 could climb into a playoff position and jump WFC2 whereas three points from the hosts could see them climb as high as second, pending goals scored for criteria purposes.
Crew 2 were voted as the top side across MLS NEXT Pro power rankings following the conclusion of week 8, with the Eastern Conference’s top side hosting 6th place TFC II.
Crew 2 have won six straight matches and are coming off an impressive 1-0 road win at NYCFC II.
TFC II have lost two straight matches, but will hit the road in hopes of knocking off the top side in the East.
FCC2 will play host to a very competitive Revs II side that have only lost one match this MLS NEXT Pro season. FCC2 however, have lost six straight matches across league play.
Revs II are coming off an impressive 1-0 road win at TFC II, that saw them climb up to 3rd in the Eastern Conference.
CITY2 are coming off of a disappointing 2-1 loss to WFC2 in week seven, but after a bye during week eight, they’re set to return to the pitch against a struggling Timbers2 side.
Timbers2 are one of two sides across MLS NEXT Pro that have not claimed three points once this season, and are coming off of three straight losses. After starting the season 3-0, CITY2 recorded two losses in a three-week span, but are now looking to get back on track when they host Timbers2.
Rounding out this weekend of MLS NEXT Pro action is a Western Conference clash between Rapids2 and the Tacoma Defiance. Rapids2 are looking to turn out a good performance after conceding seven goals in a 7-1 loss to Earthquakes II in week seven.
Tacoma Defiance and MLS NEXT Pro leading goalscorer Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez have gone four matches unbeaten now and are coming off a week seven victory over Real Monarchs.
Ocampo-Chavez will look to build on his six goals scored while Rapids 2 will look to get back on track after losing three out of their last four.