Despite Minnesota’s strong presence in the final third, Tacoma Defiance found space around the Twos’ defense, eventually defeating MNUFC2 4-2 at the National Sports Center Stadium on Friday night.
It was a game of opportunity as both sides produced dangerous chances the counter-attack. MNUFC2 dominated possession in the first half and even outshot their opponents 23-11 after 90 minutes but couldn’t capitalize in front of the net.
Tacoma opened the scoring early after being awarded a throw-in down the far touchline. Forward Georgi Minoungou, with pressure, snuck a pass to the top of the 18-yard-box for midfielder Josh Atencio to run onto and put away for the early lead.
With the club’s first shot on goal, midfielder Molik Jesse Khan equalized just 10 minutes after the away side. Khan dribbled into the box, and with two defenders closing in, chipped the ball over goalkeeper Andrew Thomas to score his fourth goal of the season.
The Defiance found the back of the net just before the half, once again finding success down the touchline. Atencio centered his pass inside the goal area to forward Braudilio Rodrigues, allowing him to fire a close-range shot past goalkeeper Fred Emmings.
After winning a giveaway in its offensive half, Tacoma scored its third goal of the night. Braudilio Rodrigues won the ball and played into the feet of midfielder Frank Daroma, who curled his shot into the far post to extend the lead to two goals.
Seattle defender Raul Miglietti made an overlapping run towards the goal line, catching a pass from Minoungou and converting his driven shot for Tacoma’s fourth and final goal.
In the 85th minute, defender Britton Fischer was shown his second yellow card and therefore ejected from the match. MNUFC2 would finish out the game with 10 men.
Minnesota cut the goal deficit to two, scoring in stoppage time. Midfielder Darius Randell created the chance by running on to a long ball overtop the Defiance backline. Forward Kameron Lacey scooped the loose ball near the top of the six-yard box and placed his shot on frame. The ball struck the post and was redirected to the back post where midfielder Emmanuel Iwe made the finish.
Despite their last-minute tally, the Twos were unable to overcome the Tacoma Defiance.
With the result, MNUFC2 sit in seventh place in MLS NEXT Pro Western Conference regular-season action with a 9-9-6 record (W-L-D) and 36 points.
MNUFC2 will next face Earthquakes II at PayPal Park on Sunday, September 3rd at 9:00pm CT. The match will be streamed on MLSNEXTPro.com.
0-1 TAC – Josh Atencio, assisted by Georgi Minoungou (8’)
1-1 MIN – Molik Jesse Khan, unassisted (18’)
1-2 TAC – Braudilio Rodrigues, assisted by Josh Atencio (36’)
1-3 TAC – Frank Daroma, assisted by Braudilio Rodrigues (58’)
1-4 TAC – Raul Miglietti, assisted by Georgi Minoungou (69’)
2-4 MIN – Emmanuel Iwe, unassisted (90’+1’)
Caution, TAC – Xavier Arreaga (45’+1’)
Caution, MIN – Kameron Lacey (56’)
Caution, MIN – Britton Fischer (78’)
Caution, TAC - Raul Miglietti (79’)
Caution, ejection, MIN – Britton Fischer (85’)
4 – Molik Jesse Khan’s goal tonight was his fourth of 2023 through 19 appearances.
TEAM LEADERS (Updated through Aug. 25)
Goals – Diogo Pacheco, Kameron Lacey (8)
Assists – Diogo Pacheco (4)
Saves – Fred Emmings (64)
Wins – Fred Emmings (7)
Shutouts – Fred Emmings, Alec Smir (3)