After winning the MLS NEXT Pro Western Conference title, Austin FC II will face Columbus Crew 2 at Lower.com Field in the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro Cup on Sunday, October 22 at 5 p.m. ET/4 p.m. CT for the chance to be crowned league champions.
Austin FC II Outlook
Austin FC II has its sights set on hoisting a trophy for the second consecutive Sunday. This time, ATXFC II will have to win their fourth consecutive road playoff match to take down the defending MLS NEXT Pro Cup Champions.
The Verde & Black defeated Colorado Rapids 2 to claim the Western Conference Title last weekend. The teams played to a scoreless draw after 120 minutes, and ATXFC II won the ensuing shootout 4-1 thanks to successful spot kicks by Valentin Noël, Joe Hafferty, Alonso Ramírez, and Jonathan Santillan. Damian Las made two saves in the shootout, stopping Colorado’s first and third attempts.
ATXFC II has continued its dominant defensive play from the regular season throughout the postseason. The team has yet to concede a goal in 300 minutes of postseason play, upping their clean sheet tally to 15 between the regular season and playoffs.
Columbus Crew 2 Outlook
Crew 2 is aiming to win back-to-back MLS NEXT Pro Cups, after lifting the trophy in the 2022 season when they defeated St. Louis CITY2 at home. Columbus earned the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference after finishing the regular season with 16 wins, nine losses, and three draws.
Columbus defeated No. 1 seed New England Revolution II on the road in the Eastern Conference Final to send them back to the MLS NEXT Pro Cup. Crew 2’s leading scorer during the regular season, Gibran Rayo, scored the match's only goal in the final moment of regulation.
During the regular season, Crew 2 finished tied for first in assists in the East with 42 and fourth in scoring, netting 58 goals. Four different players finished with five assists. The team reached the MLS NEXT Pro Cup by defeating Orlando City B 2-1 in the first round, Crown Legacy FC 1-0 in the semifinals, and Revolution II in the Eastern Conference Final.
How to Watch
The match will be available to watch on the Apple TV app to MLS Season Pass subscribers.