MLS Next Pro Matchups: Top 5
Time to see what the best matchups will be for Week 3.
If you’re like me, you mostly watch MLS Next Pro to cheer on your facvorite MLS Club’s reserve team. You might watch a match featuring a future opponent, out of curiosity, but are otherwise not sure which matches are likely to be entertaining.
Allow me to point you in the right direction. Here are the top 5 MLS Next Pro matches for Week 3.
Match of the Week
#5 Chicago Fire II (2-0-0, 6 pts) vs. #1 Columbus Crew 2 (0-1-0 2 pts) The red hot Chicago Fire II host the defending champs. Last season, Crew 2 swept the series between both clubs, winning all 3 of their matches. This should be an exciting match of two teams with contrasting styles, as Crew 2 like to dominate possession out of their 3-4-2-1 formation while Fire II are willing to concede possession (only 40% possession in 2 matches) out of their 4-2-3-1 formation.
Don’t let their lack of possession fool you. Fire II have managed to fire off 32 shot attempts in 2 matches, with a ridiculous 50% of them being on target. The danger man for Fire II is their #10, Luka Prpa, who is tied for best in the league with 3 assists. Crew 2 is led by last season Final’s MVP Marco Micaletto. Also, look out for recent Crew 2 signee Thomas Roberts to make his debut, a pure #10, who joins on a free transfer from FC Dallas. Roberts joins fellow former North Texas SC standout Gibran Rayo in the Crew 2 attack, who had 14 goals/3 assists last season with Rochester NYFC.
This is the only Top 5 matchup that will be streamed for free on mlsnextpro.com, while the rest will be part of the Apple TV MLS Season Pass.
The other 4 matches worth watching:
Austin FC 2 (1-1-0, 4 pts) vs. #3 Tacoma Defiance(1-1-0, 5 pts) MLS Next Pro expansion team Austin FC 2 have gotten off to a great start, winning their first match and earning a 1-1 draw at Sporting KC II (lost 5-3 on PKs) last week. Austin’s great start will be tested as they host the Tacoma Defiance. Tacoma was the top attacking team in the Western Conference last season and are currently tied for best in scoring in the league, following a 5-0 thrashing of Real Monarchs last week.
#4 Orlando City B (2-0-0, 6 pts) vs. Inter Miami FC II (1-0-1, 3 pts) OCB is off to a fantastic start and will be facing Inter Miami FC II, who are coming off a 2-1 victory at the Philadelphia Union 2. Last season, Inter Miami FC II won their 3 match series 2 to 1. Both clubs consider this a derby, so expect a high-scoring affair.
#2 North Texas SC (2-0-0, 6 pts) vs. #6 Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 (1-1-0, 5 pts) North Texas SC is coming off 2 road victories over teams that they were expected to defeat but are likely to recieve their first real test in the form of the visiting Whitecaps 2. Last season, these two split their series, each winning at home. Expect a chess match between 2 teams with excellent defenses, where it may take a single mistake to decide the winner.
New York Red Bull (0-2-0) vs. Crown Legacy FC (1-1-0) A matchup between the only 2 unbeaten teams not in the AfterBurn.Soccer MLSNP Top 10. NYRB II are known for its club system, while Crown Legacy is a high-spending expansion side.
All listed rankings are from our MLS Next Pro Rankings: Top 10.
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