SKC II Picks up Extra Point in Shootout Win at St Louis CITY2 in the Team's 2022 MLS NEXT Pro FinaleÃÂ
Sporting Kansas City II (8-12-3, 31 points) picked up an extra point in a shootout victory over St Louis CITY2 (15-6-3, 49 points) at Ralph Korte Stadium in Edwardsville, IL on Sunday night. This win in penalties is SKC II's first shootout victory of the season and caps off the inaugural MLS NEXT Pro season and 2022 campaign.
TJ Fatah who scored SKC II's first goal in the brand-new league scored the last goal in regulation to level the match in the 63rd. Carlito Saylon, a 16-year-old Sporting KC Academy product made seven crucial saves on the night and denied two penalties in the shootout.
Head coach Benny Feilhaber finished his first year as a head coach with back-to-back results after defeating Rapids 2 5-0 and earning the draw tonight. He trotted out a similar lineup to the match in Colorado, starting a back four of Nati Clarke, Esai Easley, Jahon Rad and Mikey Lenis. The midfield was comprised of Coan, captain Collin Fernandez and first-team loanee Jake Davis while up-top, Fatah played out wide alongside Rauf Salifu and Bakary Bagayoko.
Both teams came out sizing each other up, passing the ball around their respective attacking thirds, looking for an opening. The first opening broke for the hosts in the ninth minute after Celio Pompeu gained access to the SKC II 18. K. Rad slid over well and forced a poorly hit shot to roll right into Saylon's possession for his first save.
The SKC II backstop got involved again moments later, punching a cross out to former Sporting Kansas City midfielder Wan Kuzain. After he recycled the play he saw his shot blocked by Salifu. In that same minute, CITY2 converted on a corner kick that was headed into the back of the net by Kyle Hiebert.
In the 16th, Pompeu tried to double the lead after being played in over the top but was called offsides. The forward asked further questions of the SKC II defense in the 19th from the other side of the pitch. This time Lenis slid over to force a poor shot, allowing Saylon to make his second save.
K. Rad nearly leveled the match in the 21st after Bagayoko won SKC II a corner. Fernandez put the ball on the defender's head but his redirected shot glanced inches over the top corner of the goal. A brilliant pass to Fatah was nearly turned in by the runner but his first touch was scooped up by CITY2 keeper Michael Creek.
In the 24th, Max Schneider ripped a back pass on target that Saylon saved with ease. Two minutes later, on the other side of the pitch, Salifu nearly found the goal but chipped his shot over the crossbar on the far post. In the 36th, Coan got into a dangerous area, zipped a cross along the goal mouth but had it go wanting, running all the way through the box.
CITY2 found the back of the net right before halftime but the offside flag went up on the far side negating the goal. St. Louis would take the one-goal lead into the break.
SKC II came out of the break looking to level the contest. Coan ripped a set piece on target from long range and Creek caught it in the middle of his goal. Benjamin Di Rosa then sprinted in to try a one-timer from the top of the box, sending it well over the goal.
In the 63rd, SKC II found the equalizer. Coan applied some unexpected high pressure, turning the ball over at midfield. He dashed for the goal, drew in the keeper and dropped a dime to Fatah in the 18. The forward wasted no time, placing the ball into the empty net to level the match.
SKC II continued to attack in the 68th with a pair of lethal-looking crosses from Coan. Both wound up being cleared by the hosts. The match then turned into the Carlito Saylon show as he made clutch save after clutch save to maintain the level scoreline.
The first significant Saylon save came in the 69th when he denied Vitor Dias' shot from the edge of the 18, destined for the back of the net. Lenis then got in on the action, slamming the door shut on an Isak Jensen through ball.
In the 78th, Saylon's second save saw him dive to the near post to block Pompeu's blast that Lenis threw off with a late challenge. The backstop then punched a cross, had Coan block a shot with his body and bravely jumped into traffic to clear a centering pass.
Davis cracked a rather ambitious one on goal from midfield, trying to catch Creek napping but the keeper was wise to it. As we entered the first of nine minutes of second half stoppage time Saylon dropped down to one leg to make a beautiful kick save on the near post. In the final attack of regulation, CITY2 nearly found the winner. A shot was turned on goal and blocked in front. The ball hung around the box, was saved by Saylon and then was rolled out by St Louis.
In the shootout. Coan converted his before Dias matched. SKC II missed their second kick and the hosts took a lead. Both takers in the third round rolled theirs home before Davis duped the keeper. Sylon saved the fourth to bring us back level at three a piece. In the fifth round, both takers made their kicks and we went to sudden death.
Second-half substitute Joseph Addo Tetteh stepped up and calmly blasted his shot home. Saylon then made an unreal save, diving to his right to block the final kick and secure the shootout win for SKC II. With tonight's draw, SKC II ends the 2022 season on a high note. The club will return to action in 2023 with preseason play before the second ever year of MLS NEXT Pro competition. Next year, 28 teams will enter the league and more information will be announced at a later date.
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