Austin FC II earned a point in their first ever MLS NEXT Pro road test at Rock Chalk Park in Lawrence, Kansas, on Sunday, drawing 1-1 after regular time. The Verde and Black came up just short of another point, however, falling 4-2 in penalty kicks to Sporting KC II.
Head Coach Brett Uttley made two changes to the starting eleven from the club's inaugural MLS NEXT Pro match last Friday with Austin FC Academy product Micah Burton starting in place of Christo Vela and Jonathan Santillan replacing Emmanuel “EJ” Johnson in the starting XI.
ATXFC II began the game with an encouraging opportunity after a handball by Sporting KC II in the sixth minute. David Rodriguez took the free kick a couple yards outside the box lofting it up to teammate Kip Keller for a header, but the ball sailed north of the crossbar.
ATXFC II saw their most dangerous chance of the first half in the 13th-minute as the team strung together some beautiful passes that resulted in a chance just outside the box. Later in the half goalkeeper Damian Las made a diving save in the 40th-minute to keep the game deadlocked going into the break.
Both teams found the back of the net in the second half with all the action coming in a five-minute span. Sporting KC II opened the scoring in the 67th-minute off a counterattack. ATXFC II was able to quickly find an equalizer though in the 72nd-minute with a header into the far post from Alfonso Ocampo-Chávez via a Valentin Noël assist coming off a corner-kick.
With the new MLS NEXT Pro rule in affect, both teams tied after the initial 90’-minutes of regulation, each earning a point. The game then advanced straight to a penalty shootout to see who would garner another.
Sporting KC II converted on all four of their PKs, giving them the victory and two points on the afternoon.
SKC (0-1) – Pau Vidal (assisted by Andrew Draper) 67’
ATX (1-1) - Alfonso Ocampo-Chávez (assisted by Valentin Noël) 72’
Austin FC II will play its second home match and third match overall of the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro regular season against Tacoma Defiance on Friday, April 7 at 7:00 p.m. CT. Fans can purchase tickets to watch the match at Parmer Field at St. David’s Performance Center, and enjoy food, drinks, and entertainment at The Pitch, immediately adjacent to the stadium. For those who can’t make it, the match will be available to watch on the Apple TV app to MLS Season Pass subscribers.