MNUFC2 vs Colorado Rapids 2
National Sports Center Stadium | Blaine, MN
5.28.2023 | MLS NEXT Pro Game No. 10
5:00 p.m. CT | Streaming on AppleTV
In an exciting back-and-forth match that featured a great deal of tenacious play, MNUFC2 bested LA Galaxy II on Wednesday night thanks to a late-game goal by Juan Mosquera The match against the Galaxy was the first of two back-to-back home games for the Loons, which is, no doubt, a great change of pace from the club’s six straight road tilts to kick off their season. Next up, the lads will face Colorado Rapids 2, a team that is still undefeated and sitting in first place in the Western Conference standings.
Head Coach Cameron Knowles is proud of his team’s performance on Wednesday. Winning in front of a home crowd is always a great experience, and in this instance, building confidence before Sunday’s difficult matchup is a nice cherry on top.
“Great three points and really important three points for us,” said Knowles. “I think in the balance of the play, we deserved the win. We had created some really good chances. We were better in possession in the front half than we’ve been, and we really had to dig deep at the end there. They threw everything at us, and we had some nervy moments. But, to see the game out, get the three points, and knowing that we’ve got another game coming up pretty quick is really important.”
The defense was solid during the Twos’ midweek tilt, really digging in to get those clearances, and battling to keep their lead. The first goal for the Loons also came from the back line when Britton Fischer notched a header in the 18th minute – adding to his overall impressive performance from the night.
“He’s still a young player. He’s played professional seasons before, but he’s still coming to us as a young player. He’s 19 years old. I thought both those guys, both center backs, were very good. It was a good performance from them, really mature in the way they played, good decisions on the ball without really putting the ball at risk. Between him and CC [Uche], I thought they were both very good. I’m very happy for Britton to get that moment. He’s obviously a big presence and so to be able to find him, it’s another great tool for us to have in terms of a scoring weapon,” said Cameron Knowles.
Another player that continues to impress is Diogo Pacheco. The Portuguese midfielder had two assists Wednesday, once again showcasing his goal-creation prowess. Pacheco has been a consistent force in the offense, currently tied for the second-most goals in the league with six along with the second-most assists with four.
“He just keeps showing up on the stat sheet. He’s doing a really nice job of executing in good moments. We saw that even — you go back to last week with the performance he had as well — so he’s been steady…He’s getting a run of games, and he’s been a good leader for us as well as one of our older players to set a standard for everyone,” said Knowles.
Now, the Black and Blue have set their sights on defeating Colorado Rapids 2 in their second home game this week. Last year, the Loons and the Rapids faced each other three times, with the Loons winning two and losing one in the shootout after a draw. This year’s version of Rapids 2 is an entirely different beast, however, as Colorado enters Sunday’s match with a record of 7-0-2, compared to last year’s ninth-place finish. Then again, many clubs have evolved year over year in MLS NEXT Pro, including Minnesota.
Sunday’s match is going to be a challenge, but one the Twos are certainly capable of facing head on. “Our play has been really good in moments, and when we can put it together for 90 minutes, we can compete with anyone, and we’ll get that chance this weekend playing against one of the best teams in the league,” said Knowles.
Sunday’s match kicks off at 5:00 p.m. and it will, without a doubt, be a high-intensity affair. The Twos have succeeded in difficult moments already this season; let’s see what they can do with the might of a home crowd at their backs. After two back-to-back home Wonderwall serenades, the guys will surely be itching for a third – it is a catchy song after all.