Goals from wingers Juan Mosquera, Emmanuel Iwe and a first for midfielder Kage Romanshyn led MNUFC2 to a 3-2 victory over the Kansas side at the National Sports Center Stadium on Sunday evening in the Loons' final regular-season home game of the 2023 campaign.
MNUFC2 dominated a majority of the play in the first half with quick ball movement and fast breaks on the counter-attack. In the 12th minute, forward Loic Mesanvi took his defender 1v1 down the near side of the 18-yard box. Mesanvi centered a cross, placing the ball just in front of goalkeeper John Pulskamp for winger Emmanuel Iwe to run onto, but Pulskamp came up with the save.
As Minnesota held possession in its attacking third, midfielder Zaydan Bello fired a low-driven shot on target. Bello, unmarked and with space at the top of the goal area, forced Pulskamp to make a one-handed save in the bottom corner of the net.
Noticing Iwe with time and space across the box, Romanshyn passed to the winger, allowing him to take a touch around his defender and launch a shot. Iwe’s strike was deflected, missing just above the bar. A couple of minutes later, the Nigerian once again had an opportunity at goal when he struck a shot at Pulskamp that was punched away and cleared around the six-yard-box.
The Twos were first on the board, scoring in the 33rd minute. Winger Juan Mosquera made an overlapping run around his defender to open space for Romanshyn to slot a through-ball ahead for the 21-year-old. Mosquera placed his shot into the far post to capture the lead and his third goal of the season.
Finding continual success down the left-side touchline, Iwe had yet another chance on net and eventually notched a goal for himself by curling his shot into the side netting in the 44th minute. His goal was his eighth of the season, tying him with Diogo Pacheco for the second-most goals scored of the 2023 campaign.
In the 56th minute, Iwe charged towards into the Kansas defensive half in search of a brace. Attempting to bury his shot in the back post, Pulskamp got only his right foot on the ball to deny Iwe’s second goal of the evening.
Sporting KC II joined the scoring by forcing an own goal by sending a cross into the center of the box. In an attempt to clear the ball, Mikael Marques made contact, making the ball ricochet past goalkeeper Fred Emmings.
It wasn’t long before the Twos went up again and put away what would become their final goal of the night. Romanshyn settled a headed pass from Pacheco and fired a shot into on frame to secure his first goal with MNUFC2.
Kansas responded almost immediately in the 75th minute. Ethan Bryant made a run into the center of the box and finished a pass from Lucas Rosa to close the deficit and bring the match within a one-score margin.
Emmings came up with a big save in stoppage time, punching away a shot from Stephen Afrifa in the center of the box to take all three points at home.
With the win, MNUFC2 sit in sixth place in MLS NEXT Pro Western Conference regular-season action with a 10-9-8 record (W-L-D) and 43 points and remain in playoff contention.
MNUFC2 will next travel to Colorado Rapids for Decision Day, playing at the University of Denver Soccer Stadium on Sunday, September 24. Kick is set for 4:00pm CT. The match will be streamed on MLS Season Pass on the Apple TV app.
1-0 MIN – Juan Mosquera, assisted by Kage Romanshyn (33’)
2-0 MIN – Emmanuel Iwe, assisted by Zaydan Bello (44’)
1-2 SKC – Own goal (60’)
3-1 MIN – Kage Romanshyn, assisted by Diogo Pacheco (75’)
2-3 SKC – Ethan Bryant, assisted by Lucas Rosa (75’)
Caution, MIN – Cedrik Gbo (54’)
Caution, SKC – Chris Rindov (57’)
Caution, MIN – Kage Romanshyn (81’)
Caution, MIN – Molik Jesse Khan (90’+5’)
8 – With his goal this evening, Emmanuel Iwe notched his eighth goal of 2023, tying him with Diogo Pacheco for second-most goals scored this season on the team.
1 – Kage Romanshyn’s goal was his first MLS NEXT Pro/MNUFC2 goal.
TEAM LEADERS (Updated through September 17)
Goals – Kameron Lacey (10)
Assists – Diogo Pacheco (5)
Saves – Fred Emmings (76)
Wins – Fred Emmings (8)
Shutouts – Fred Emmings, Alec Smir (3)