Colorado Rapids 2 v MNUFC2
DICK’S Sporting Goods Park | Commerce City, Colorado
08.06.2022 | MLS NEXT Pro Game No. 18
10:59 p.m. CT | Streaming on www.mlsnextpro.com
The Loons are once again taking flight, this time to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado to take on Colorado Rapids 2. Following a home victory against Timbers 2 this past weekend, a game which snapped a three-game losing streak for MNUFC2, they will face Rapids 2 for the third and final time this season.
In the previous two meetings between these squads, the Loons have taken two dubs, outscoring their opponents by a total score of 9-1. The first matchup was just the fourth game of the season, all the way back in April. The Loons lined up with several first team regulars in the starting XI, including Adrien Hunuou, Jacori Hayes, and DJ Taylor, among others. This strong team rolled over Rapids 2 by a 4-0 scoreline behind goals from Hunuou, Nabilai Kibunguchy, Justin McMaster, and Aziel Jackson.
When they next met in May, a vastly different MNUFC2 lineup was able to replicate the margin of the previous victory, though they did let in a goal this time around. Niko Hansen bagged a brace, while Emmanuel Iwe, Aziel Jackson, and Tommy Williamson struck for one apiece. Colorado never really had a foothold in this game, and the scoreline proves it.
One name that you may have noticed popping up quite a bit is Aziel Jackson. Jackson’s standout performances this year have made him one of MLS NEXT Pro’s most successful attacking players, evidenced by the fact that his six assists put him just one behind the league leaders. On top of that, he is currently leading the league with 42 key passes. When AZ is pulling the strings, MNUFC2 are all but guaranteed to get at the goal.
After a lackluster start to the season, Rapids 2 have found themselves near the bottom of the league standings. While they are currently ninth in the Western Conference Standings, their recent run of form suggests that they may have turned a corner since their trip to Minnesota.
In their last five games, Rapids 2 have a record of 3-1-1, including a 2-1 win against Wolverhampton Wanderers’ U21 side. They scored twice in each of those games, apart from their loss to Sporting KC II. Momentum is a useful weapon to have in your arsenal, and it appears as though Colorado will have it with them Saturday night.
With their playoff hopes still alive, this run-in with Colorado will certainly feel like a must-win for the Loons. The season is winding down and the chances to close the gap between themselves and the likes of North Texas SC are getting fewer and fewer. While MNUFC2 has a couple games in hand, it’s never a good policy to count your chickens before they hatch, nor your points before you earn them.
Motivation for both teams will be high in this one. While one team seeks revenge for previous blows, the other will be looking to make meaningful moves in the league standings. At the end of the day, it matters less what your inspiration is and more that you are primed and ready when the whistle blows.
Saturday’s game marks the first double-header of the season for the Loons, as MNUFC will play the Colorado Rapids just before MNUFC2 take on Rapids 2, both at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The first game kicks off at 8:00 pm CT, with the MLS NEXT Pro match set to kickoff at 10:59 pm CT. All MNUFC2 games can be streamed for free at www.mlsnextpro.com.