MNUFC2 v North Texas SC
National Sports Center | Blaine, MN
08.05.2023 | MLS NEXT Pro Game No. 20
MNUFC2 narrowly fell to Earthquakes II last Saturday, after going down to only 10 men in the 30th minute. The game showed a lot of resilience on the Twos side, and the team had many excellent attempts on goal, but none came to fruition. This week, the Loons will face North Texas SC and, this time around, they will look to add that missing piece, and put the final finishing touch on their performance.
Head Coach Cameron Knowles was pleased with the Twos latest showing, and thinks they deserved something out of the game.
“The red card makes it difficult. Down a man, down a goal is tough, but I thought our overall performance for our guys was fantastic,” said Knowles. “A really fantastic way they played; created a number of chances, we had just as many chances as they [Earthquakes II] did in the game. Kept being on the front foot, brave on the ball, guys getting forward [and] working incredibly hard. The guys who came into the game gave us a little bit of a lift as well. I feel to come out of that with nothing is really tough for the guys because they put so much into it. I feel like they deserve more out of the game.”
It’s always extra frustrating for teams when the form is there, but the results fall short. However, disappointment can be a powerful motivator for the next matchup. Unfortunately for North Texas, they will find themselves on the receiving end of that intensity on Saturday.
North Texas SC is a solid team, and have beaten MNUFC2 every time they have played in the past, but their overall results the season have been spotty – landing them in 10th place in the Western Conference with 25 points.
In their last match, North Texas snapped a seven-match winless skid with a dominant 4-0 win over Timbers2. On one hand, seven winless matches speaks to the difficulty North Texas has endured this year, but with such a strong showing in the first match under interim Head Coach John Gall – a resurgence could be in the works. It’s hard to predict which version of North Texas SC the Twos will face, but four goals is great for confidence, and it’s looking less likely that they will be slipping back into another rut this season.
Cameron Knowles fancies MNUFC2’s chances if they can continue to put their best foot forward. “If you look at the way we were today; guys moving and wanting the ball, hungry in possession, guys being organized and disciplined defending, what we’ve done the last three or four weeks, that’s what we need to do,” said Knowles. “Sixteen shots that we’ve had tonight with as many goals as we’ve scored this year, I think that if we can do that and create that many chances, we’ll certainly get on the scoreboard.”
Goalkeeper Fred Emmings mirrors his coach’s sentiments, and has a lot of confidence in his team’s abilities. “They’re [North Texas SC] a good team but so are we,” said Emmings. “We have the talent and the guys to go out there and beat them. So, we’re just going to stick to what we know and give it a hard shot.”
Two redemption arcs will collide in National Sports Center Stadium this Saturday, and spectators can expect a hard-fought match from start to finish. It will be interesting to see who can pick up the points and begin making that final push towards playoff contention – and with nine games left in the regular season, every game counts.