In the first-ever installment of a brewing neighborly rivalry, it was St Louis CITY2 that took the spoils on Saturday night, edging Sporting KC II by a 1-0 margin at Rock Chalk Park in Lawrence, Kansas.

CITY2 got off to a hot start and took the lead in the 10th minute. Defender Akil Watts opened the scoring from an early set-piece opportunity with a right-footed finish at point-blank thanks to a ball from fellow defender Ezra Armstrong. From outside the box, Armstrong sent a ball in and it looked like it had eyes. He kept it on the ground, and it skipped past the SKCII line of defense for Watts to poke it in at a tight angle for his second goal of the season and started a two-game scoring streak.

The difference-maker coming from a pair of defenders was fitting. In no small part to the sturdy backline, CITY2 withstood a flurry of chances from SKCII while down a man in stoppage time and ended the night with a convincing 8-3 shot advantage and managed a whopping 18 clearances to help keep their goalkeeper unscathed.

The win extended CITY2's winning streak to three in a row, marked its first-ever road win, and second clean sheet so far in its inaugural MLS NEXT Pro campaign.

The Story: Watch out for the new kids on the block

So far, so good in St Louis CITY2’s inaugural MLS NEXT Pro campaign.

Every soccer fan knows that first-year teams, generally, have tempered expectations. CITY2 fans should be left delighted by a three-game winning streak out of the gate. Saturday’s contest was the first road test for head coach John Hackworth and company and the result displayed some convincing defensive play to remark on.

A goal in the first 10 minutes is a dream start for any team to work with but holding a 1-0 lead for 80+ minutes is a different challenge entirely. Sporting KC II started threatening towards the end of the first half and put the pressure on early in the second, and arguably deserved some better luck with finding an equalizer.

By the end, CITY2 committed to a low block that proved to be unbreakable with each passing threat it was tested with. Make no mistake, the side from St Louis was grinding it out for the last stretch and a red card to midfielder Max Schneider in stoppage time could have been the gift SKCII needed to save a point, but CITY2 stood strong and thwarted two final corner kicks while having a numbers disadvantage.

It is the first win of its kind on the season, beyond the fact it was the first away day. In CITY2’s opening week, it had a 2-0 cushion to work with. Last week, it was up for the challenge in a thrilling 4-3 battle bud did lose two goals late in the second half.

St Louis CITY2 will remain in the MLS NEXT Pro headlines looking ahead, as it will feature in next weekend’s Game of the Week when it locks horns with MNUFC2 on Sunday, April 24, and tries to extend the winning streak to four.