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 Sporting Kansas City II

Sporting KC II Takes on Austin FC II on Friday in Western Conference Quarterfinals Rematch

May 16, 2024 - MLS NEXT Pro (MLS NEXT Pro)
Sporting Kansas City II News Release

Sporting Kansas City II (5-3-1, 16 points) will travel south for a rematch with their 2023 MLS NEXT Pro Western Conference Quarterfinals opposition, Austin FC II (2-3-2, 8 points) in a Friday night fight on MLS Season Pass. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. CT as the two Frontier Division members duel at Parmer Field in Austin, Texas.

The two sides last met in the playoffs where Sporting KC II suffered a 2-0 defeat at Rock Chalk Park in the first round. Austin ended up running the table, knocking off Tacoma Defiance, and Colorado Rapids 2 before dispatching Columbus Crew 2 in the MLS NEXT Pro Cup Final at Stadium.

In the regular season, SKC II got the better of ATX II in kicks from the spot in their first match in April 2023 before knocking them off at Parmer Field 2-1 in a monumental road win which proved decisive in Kansas City's playoff hopes. This marks the first of three matchups in the 2024 regular season as Austin will come to Kansas City on June 30 and August 18 in the latter half of the campaign.

Entering Friday's match, SKC II is on a terrific run of form, earning four results in their last five matches. Their most recent outing saw them handle Rapids 2 in Lawrence, Kansas, coming back from a goal down to win 2-1 in front of the home fans. Forward Beto Avila struck twice on a pair of Kamron Habibullah assists to propel Sporting out in front and the defense held for the remainder of the match to earn all three points.

Avila earned MLS NEXT Pro Player of Matchweek 9 honors for his second brace of the season. The Austin native has five goals to his name so far in 2024, including the equalizer at Houston Dynamo 2, his former club, and a pair of winners against Rapids 2. Habibullah, a two-time Player of the Matchweek as well as April's Player of the Month leads the team in both goals scored and assists. He struck seven times in April and his two assists last Sunday give him three this year.

Midfielder Ethan Bryant and versatile Academy product Sebastian Cruz have also tallied three assists to join Habibullah atop the team rankings. They are followed closely behind by Spanish forward Pau Vidal, first-team Homegrown Kayden Pierre and Academy amateur player Jacob Bartlett who have all teed up two goals each. Bartlett has made seven straight starts for head coach Benny Feilhaber, playing all over the pitch including outside back, centerback and defensive midfielder. His 630 minutes played rank fourth on the team.

Leading the club in minutes played is defender and first teamer Chris Rindov. The Maryland alum has appeared in all nine matches, accumulating 765 minutes played and one goal. He paces Kansas City in pass attempts (438), completed passes (364), accurate long balls (23) and clearances (21). Joining him on the backline for all nine matches has been rookie Nati Clarke. The Topeka native is the only player on the team to start all nine matches, playing on both wings of the back four.

Austin is led by head coach Brett Uttley in his second season steering the ship. The skipper led them to the MLS NEXT Pro title a season ago and has started the season with a 2-3-2 record, sitting fourth in the Frontier Division. Their last showing produced a 2-1 road defeat at St. Louis CITY2 on Sunday, May 12. Their seven goals scored are the fewest in the Western Conference but their nine-goal concessions are fourth fewest.

The Black and Verde second team's leading scorer is Sebastian Pineau who has found the back of the net three times in seven matches. A season ago he led Austin in scoring with seven finishes. The 2023 MLS NEXT Pro Goalkeeper of the Year Damian Las is no longer with Austin FC II, signing a three-year deal with the first team before going out on loan to Louisville City SC in the USL Championship. Austin will be in search of their first home win of the season, currently owning a 0-2-1 record at Parmer Field with a shoutout defeat.

Match Information:

MLS NEXT Pro: Matchweek 10

Date: Friday, May 17, 2024

Kickoff: 8 p.m. CT

Location: Parmer Field (Austin, Texas)

Watch: MLS Season Pass on Apple TV


Match-specific hashtag: #ATXvSKC

X: @SportingKCII

Instagram: @SportingKCII

Twitter: @AustinFCII

Instagram: @AustinFCII

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