MNUFC2 saw goals scored by two of its young attacking players – Loïc Mesanvi and Kage Romanshyn Jr. – in a fight to the very end against Colorado Rapids 2, but the two tallies were not enough, and the Loons eventually fell 4-2 at the University of Denver Soccer Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Following the loss, MNUFC2 was eliminated from playoffs contention.
Just two minutes into the match, midfielder Diogo Pacheco took a free kick from about 20 yards away from the goal line. The kick was struck well, hitting the target but ultimately being saved by Colorado Rapids 2’s goalkeeper.
After holding a majority of possession throughout the first 20 minutes, Rapids 2 saw their first close scoring chance. In the 20th minute, Remi Cabral found space with the ball, unmarked, behind the MNUFC2 defensive line. His run forced Twos’ goalkeeper Fred Emmings to come off his line in response. Cabral’s practically wide-open shot missed left of the post.
Again nearly 20 minutes later, Cabral snuck behind the Twos line and connected on a ball delivered over the top. MNUFC2 center back Geremy Rodas ran to catch up and successfully challenge Cabral, and a shot was saved by Emmings’ body, keeping the game scoreless heading into halftime.
The home side opened the scoring in the 49th minute when Yosuke Hanya sent a ball across Minnesota’s box, connecting with Jackson Travis, who turned and struck a shot that scored past Emmings in the far side of the net.
But MNUFC2 responded quickly and in the 52nd minute, took advantage of a poor Colorado pass inside their own half. The pass became a turnover when Pacheco gained possession, followed by Twos’ possession and movement which led to forward Loïc Mesanvi heading shot into the near-post net and equalizing the match a 1-1. Defender Nick Richardson was awarded the assist on the goal.
In the 59th minute, the Twos would strike again and gain the lead. Midfielder Kage Romanshyn Jr. made a run towards goal and was fouled by Colorado’s Michael Edwards. The foul earned MNUFC2 a free kick just outside the box. Pacheco took the kick, which deflected off of Rapids 2’s wall, back into the six-yard box and at the feet of Romanshyn Jr., who took a powerful scissor-shot that found the back of the net.
Colorado continued its potent offensive attack, which saw Cabral fight for a ball-in from over the top. He was fouled inside the box by Richardson, with the referee awarding Rapids 2 the penalty kick. Cabral converted the attempt in the 71st minute to equalize the game yet again.
Cabral scored his second goal of the afternoon in the 88th minute from atop the box, giving the Rapids 2 side the 3-2 lead at home. A few minutes later in the third minute of added stoppage time, he netted his third goal off a scramble in the goalkeepers box.
With the result, MNUFC2 finish the 2023 season in eighth place in MLS NEXT Pro Western Conference regular-season action with a 10-10-8 record (W-L-D) and 43 points.
MNUFC2 will return for its third season in 2024, with a full schedule to be released in the coming months.
0-1 COL – Jackson Travis, assisted by Yosuke Hanya (49’)
1-1 MIN – Loïc Mesanvi, assisted by Nick Richardson (52’)
2-1 MIN – Kage Romanshyn Jr., unassisted (59’)
2-2 COL – Remi Cabral, PK (71’)
2-3 COL – Remi Cabral, assisted by Marlon Vargas (89’)
2-4 COL – Remi Cabral, assisted by Yosuke Hanya (90’+3’)
Caution, COL – Michael Edwards (57’)
Caution, COL – Remi Cabral (90’+3’)
2 – Midfielder Kage Romanshyn Jr.’s goal against Colorado Rapids 2 was his second goal scored in the past two games.
1 – Twos’ forward Loïc Mesanvi netted his first goal of the 2023 season against the Rapids side.
TEAM LEADERS (Updated through September 24)
Goals – Kameron Lacey (10)
Assists – Diogo Pacheco (5)
Saves – Fred Emmings (80)
Wins – Fred Emmings (8)
Shutouts – Fred Emmings, Alec Smir (3)