JJA07189

Timbers2 v MNUFC2

Hillsboro Stadium | Hillsboro, Oregon

09.11.2022 | MLS NEXT Pro Game No. 23

8:00 p.m. CT | Streaming on www.mlsnextpro.com

MNUFC2 has had a strong 2022 season. The tough loss against North Texas SC last week means the Loons are out of the running for playoffs, but that doesn’t take away from the team’s successes. Currently ranked sixth in the Western Conference, the goal now is to win the last two games and finish as high on the table as possible.

“We can’t just sit there and base success and failure just on making the playoffs or missing the playoffs,'' said Head Coach Cameron Knowles. “There’s a lot of positive stuff that has happened with some of the individuals on the team and we will always shoot to be a team that wins and a team that makes the playoffs. But, we do need to see some good individual performances. And for me, this is a big test of our character as a team as much as it is our quality, to see how we bounce back and how we push through these last two games.”

MNUFC2 could potentially finish fifth this season. Whether or not that goal is reached, the Loons are looking forward to the opportunity to finish strong. “It’s been a good week of training,” said Knowles. “Obviously, there was disappointment with the guys in terms of how that [North Texas SC] result went, but we’re looking forward to the last two matches of the season and in particular, our last road game. The spirit in training was great.”

The Two’s are on their way to Oregon for their second-to-last game of the season. Timbers2 is ranked 11th, but as Knowles has said in the past, their ranking doesn’t fully reflect their quality. “If we fall asleep, they’ll punish us,” said Knowles. “It showed in the last time we played them. They had the ability to get back into the game and make it difficult. So, we’ve got to take care of our chances, stay on the front foot, keep being aggressive and really put them under pressure.”

Both teams may be out of playoff contention, but neither side will want to give up an easy win. MNUFC2 had 25 scoring opportunities against North Texas SC, and will be focusing on converting those chances into goals ahead of Sunday. Timbers2 held their own the last time these teams met, before two goals in the second half gave the 3-1 victory for MNUFC2. The team from the Beaver State will be looking for a bit of redemption before the 2022 season comes to a close. Nevertheless, two more games in the season is two more chances to lay it all out for 90 minutes, and two more chances to find ways to improve.