Tacoma Defiance v MNUFC2
Starfire Sports Stadium | Tacoma, Washington
05.14.2023 | MLS NEXT Pro Game No. 8
10:00 p.m. CT | Streaming on MLSNEXTPro.com
Fresh off of their first home game of the season, MNUFC2 is making like Jack and hitting the road once again this weekend. Don’t worry, though; unlike Ray Charles’ favorite antagonist, they will indeed be coming back for more home games after they play Tacoma Defiance on Sunday.
The Loons ended their losing streak in the aforementioned home game last weekend, drawing 3-3 with Chicago Fire II and grabbing the extra point in the ensuing shootout. The Twos’ goal-scoring ability was on full display, but a few too many mistakes in the back left them one point short of the win they probably deserved. Goalkeeper Fred Emmings proved to be the hero at the end of the day, saving two penalties to put his team on top.
Now seven games into the season, MNUFC2 will be facing yet another big test this weekend. Tacoma currently sits in third place in the Western Conference with 14 points from six games played. A perfect 2-0-0 home record has seen them make Starfire Sports Stadium a bit of a fortress early on, outscoring their opponents 8-1 while playing at home.
But the Defiance aren’t just dangerous at home. With a +8 goal difference and the league leader in assists on their squad, they’ve proven that they can not only score anywhere, they can score quite often as well. No one has been able to shut them out this season; it’s going to take a special effort to change that stat.
With new signing Cedrick Gbo added to the midfield, the Loons may feel that they have what it takes to match up against Tacoma. Paired with Jesse Khan and Rory O’Driscoll, Gbo looked lively against Chicago, sparking some attacks and generally helping to keep the midfield tidy. With more time spent training with his new squad, his performances will likely only get better.
Likewise, MNUFC2’s leading goal scorer Diogo Pacheco’s fast start to the 2023 season has continued, seeing him notch five goals in just seven matches. His form will likely be key to anything positive his side gets going this weekend, whether he’s putting the ball in the back of the net himself or working it around to find someone who can.
Now that every team in MLS NEXT Pro has had a chance to gel, every match will likely increase in difficulty. New signings are settling in, tactics are taking shape and good teams are starting to separate from the pack. Though every match is important, a win in Tacoma could be the tone-setter that MNUFC2 needs to set their season on course for something special.
This weekend’s match is going to be a late one, with kickoff scheduled for 10:00 p.m. CT. Check out MLSNEXTPro.com for the livestream, or head over to Major League Soccer’s YouTube channel for an alternative stream.