MNUFC2 v St. Louis CITY2
National Sports Center Stadium | Blaine, Minnesota
07.10.2022 | MLS NEXT Pro Game No. 14
8:00 p.m. CT | Streaming on www.mlsnextpro.com
MNUFC2 will be playing at home for the second week in a row. After being on the road for all of June, it will be nice for the Loons to recuperate with some at-home energy. MNUFC2 is coming off a dominating 2-0 win against Whitecaps FC 2 last week, but rather than getting too comfortable, they are taking what they learned from that game and looking ahead to their next matchup against St. Louis CITY2.
“Obviously we’re recovering from our last game,” said Head Coach Cameron Knowles. “We put a lot of energy and effort into that last game and got a good result out of it; the guys put in a tremendous effort. So, we’ve got to get turned around from that and then prepare for a very good team.”
The last time these two teams met, MNUFC2 secured a 4-0 victory and handed St. Louis CITY2 their first loss of the season, all while on St. Louis turf. The Loons started the game quickly, notching three goals before the close of the first half. It was an impressive effort, made even more impressive by the collective team presence at such an early stage in the season. Three different players scored (Aziel Jackson, Justin McMaster and Tommy Williamson) while Diogo Pacheco assisted on three of the four goals.
Knowles noted that playing as one is what will give them a repeat win over St. Louis. “Defending and attacking are both team events — they’re not just a back-four, they’re not just a goalkeeper. Scoring goals isn’t just in front men. Someone has to put the ball in the net and someone has to make a save on the other end, but it’s focusing on the collective … Because it is going to take a full effort from all our players for 90 minutes.”
In the previous match, St. Louis had a schedule in which they opted to rest some of their players. Knowles conceded that part of the Loons previous success against them had been in taking advantage of that.
“Now, this is going to be a different game,” said Knowles. “A lot of time has passed between that game and this one, and so we need to prepare for it as a unique event and just continue to work and move our group forward.”
That’s not taking anything away from the Loons success, but it does imply that a 4-0 win shouldn’t be anything to get too comfortable over. This will be a different game and a different type of battle.
The 2-0 shutout win against the Whitecaps gave the Loons a nice boost, and now they want to continue that upwards trajectory. Defender Devin Padelford said about the game, “Coming home was the perfect thing that could’ve happened for us. Having a really bad result in Texas and then bouncing back like we did, I think if we can just kind of see what we did in that game [versus Whitecaps FC 2] and add a little bit more, I think we’ll be golden – keep going on that momentum.”
St. Louis is coming off of a tough loss and will be looking to gain back some traction, whereas Minnesota is connecting well and hungry for another win at home. This coming match will be an excellent litmus test to see how each team has evolved over the course of the season and promises to be an exciting affair.