After lifting the MLS NEXT Pro Western Conference title, St Louis CITY2 will face Columbus Crew 2 in the inaugural MLS NEXT Pro Cup at Lower.com Field in Columbus, Ohio. Kickoff is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. CST on Saturday, October 8. Tickets for MLS NEXT Pro Cup are available at Ticketmaster.com and fans everywhere can watch the MLS NEXT Pro Cup live on mlsnextpro.com.
Both teams finished atop of their respective conference during the regular season. CITY2 earned first place in the Western Conference with a record of 15-6-3 in a highly competitive conference that saw the top five teams finishing second to fifth in the overall MLS NEXT Pro standings. Columbus Crew 2 led the league in wins with a record of 16-3-5, scoring a league-high 62 goals.
The matchup also sees the best home team in Columbus Crew 2 defend their turf against the best away team, CITY2. Highlighting Crew 2’s achievements this season was a near-perfect home record of 11-1-0, boasting a +34-goal difference. CITY2 had the best away form in the league, posting an 8-3-1 record on the road while scoring 30 of their 51 goals away from home.
CITY2 took care of business in their last match against Tacoma Defiance at home, holding off their opponents to secure the team’s first title in history. Tomáš Ostrák and Josh Dolling gave the home side a two-goal advantage before Abdoulaye Cissoko’s penalty kick threatened to spoil the party at Ralph Korte Stadium. The goal marked the second consecutive game Ostrák has found the back of the net. For CITY2’s leading goal scorer Dolling, the goal was a nice welcome back to the team after he spent the last three games on the sidelines because of his suspension.
CITY2, in their first year of existence, tallied the second most wins in the league (15), third-most goals for (51), seventh least goals allowed (34), and tied for sixth-most clean sheets (7), while seeing 16 different goal scorers and 13 assist providers.
In their last match Crew 2 defeated Toronto FC II, 4-3 in a riveting matchup that needed extra time to decide the winner. After going down 3-2 in extra time, Crew 2 battled back scoring twice in the dying moments of the game to win the Eastern Conference title and secure their spot in the MLS NEXT Pro Cup.
Crew 2’s regular season success saw them land four nominations in the Best XI team. Jacen Russell-Rowe won the league’s inaugural Golden Boot by scoring 21 goals in 24 games, the only player to reach over 20 this season. He was joined by fellow teammates Isaiah Parente, Mohamed Farsi, and goalkeeper of the year Patrick Schulte. Columbus Crew 2 head coach Lauren Courtois was also voted as the MLS NEXT Pro Coach of the Year.
CITY fans not attending the match are welcome to join a watch party hosted by supporter groups located at the corner of 21st Street and Olive Street, starting at 10:30 am. The event will also benefit Autism Speaks STL.
COURTESY ST. LOUIS CITY2 COMMUNICATIONS