Sporting Kansas City II, Lawrence’s professional soccer team, just wrapped up the first quarter of the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro season and is firmly entrenched in a Western Conference Playoff battle. After back-to-back results at Rock Chalk Park to open the season, SKC II has picked up two road wins, earned 11 points so far on the season, and has cemented themselves as one of the league’s most formidable opponents.
With a shootout win over second-place Austin FC II, a thrilling 2-1 over LAFC 2, and a 4-0 demolition of Real Monarchs, SKC II’s high-octane offense has been scoring goals at will. Leading the attack has been forward Pau Vidal and his five goals on the campaign. Vidal scored in five consecutive matches for SKC II and ranks third in MLS NEXT Pro in goals scored. Assisting him has been Sporting KC Academy product Sebastian Cruz who has one goal and two assists this year. Cruz also made his first team debut, helping Sporting Kansas City dispatch Tulsa Athletic in the US Open Cup, America’s oldest soccer competition.
Midfielder Ethan Bryant and defender Mo Abualnadi also made their first team introductions in the Open Cup win, cementing SKC II’s role as the feeder team for the next generation of the first team. Head coach Benny Feilhaber and assistant coach Ike Opara, both American soccer icons, have the team in high spirits and good form as they embark on the remainder of the 2023 season.
SKC II is back at Rock Chalk Park this Sunday, hosting LA Galaxy II at 5 p.m. CT. The two sides are long-time foes, having faced each other on many occasions in USL Championship. However, they have not played since both joined MLS Next Pro. The rivalry will be renewed Sunday, and thanks to Central Bank, fans can attend the match for free by reserving their seats through this link. So come on out to Rock Chalk Park and watch the future of Sporting Kansas City continue their impressive start to the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro regular season.