LAFC2 v MNUFC2
Titan Stadium | Fullerton, California
08.09.2023 | MLS NEXT Pro Game No. 21
9:00 p.m. CT (mlsnextpro.com)
Last Saturday, MNUFC triumphed over North Texas SC for the first time in the team’s history after Cameron Dunbar put up a brace to give the Loons a 2-1 lead. The Twos looked great this weekend – in front of their home crowd, no less – and now head into their match against LAFC2 with a little more pep in their step.
“First win over a team we’ve had a tough time against,” said Head Coach Cameron Knowles. “At this point of the season, three points are massive. I thought the way that we played, the first half in particular – the whole game was very good – but that first half might have been the best 45 minutes that we’ve seen out of the group: brave on the ball, organized in defending, comfortable without the ball, limiting their opportunities. They [North Texas SC] have a really dangerous attacking group and to limit them to one shot on goal in the first half was outstanding. Hats off to the guys for having to weather the storm there at the end. It always gets a bit nervy when you concede late in the game and make it close [but] they held on. Some big plays, big saves and blocks… a lot of good moments in the game.”
Following closely on the heels of MNUFC2’s well-deserved dub is a mid-week tilt against LAFC2. Quick turnarounds are always a little tricky, but the boys are buzzing after their win and are more than up for the challenge. “We played them [LAFC2] recently here at home and were able to get a good win,” said midfielder Zaydan Bello. “It’s a short turnaround so we rest and recover. We’re looking forward to heading to Los Angeles on Wednesday.”
LAFC2 currently sits at the bottom of the league with 15 points, but they are not a team to be overlooked. They're fresh off of solid showing against the number two team in the West —Austin FC II— and nearly all of their matches have been close battles. When they lose, it's not by much; they have a knack for hanging around and giving themselves a chance to steal some points.
“They’re [LAFC2] a very good team,” said Cameron Knowles. “There are some really exciting, young players. They’re very talented. They’re very good with the ball, a good team in possession. A team we cannot underestimate. We’ve done well against them in our previous meeting but at this time of the year, you’ve got to take each game one at a time. We can’t get too excited about what we’ve done here tonight. We have to take the positives out and just continue to build into these games and manage what’s going to be a difficult week coming up for us.”
Now, sitting in seventh place in the Western Conference with 31 points, MNUFC2 will need to stay as sharp as ever to continue their climb into good postseason positioning. Starting with Wednesday’s match, there are only eight games left in the regular season – in such a tightly contested Western Conference, a lot can happen in that time.