MNUFC2 traveled to face the Tacoma Defiance for the very first time on Sunday night. What started as a closely contested match then opened up in favor of the Washington squad. But a late-game resurgence by the Loons created chaos, only to fall just short of an equalizer, with the full-time 3-2 score giving all three points to the Defiance.

Sunday night’s contest was more even-keeled than it may have appeared. Statistically, both sides kept close to each other. Possession was split near 50-50 for the entirety of the contest, but leaned on the Loons’ side 58%-41% in the end. MNUFC2 barely edged the Defiance in shots with 15 total (seven on target) compared to the home side’s 14 (four on goal). The difference in the game was Tacoma’s speed and finishing, notably breaking through the MNUFC2 back line to snag the 1-0 advantage when Defiance midfielder Juan Alvarez found the back of the net in the 10th minute. Then quickly in the second half, Tacoma doubled their lead 2-0 when defender Travian Sousa connected a pass and scored in the 46th minute. MNUFC2 conceded a penalty kick in the 62nd minute where midfielder Marlon Vargas converted, giving Tacoma the 3-0 lead.

Loons midfielder Aziel Jackson had one of the few strong scoring chances for MNUFC2 when he stepped up to take a PK attempt that he had drawn in the seventh minute, but the try was ultimately saved. Minnesota got a goal back when midfielder Sagir Arce scored in the 65th minute off a Tommy Williamson pass, just one minute after entering the contest. Nearly 10 minutes later, Williamson joined in on the scoring, finding the back of the net in the 73rd minute, tallying his fifth goal of the season. Though the Loons had two unanswered goals in the second half, their persistence fell just short, with the match ending at 3-2 in favor of Tacoma.

With the loss, MNUFC2 remains in the seventh position in the MLS Next Pro Western Conference standings (6-6-3, 24 points).

MNUFC2 continues its road trip next week as it faces Houston Dynamo 2 on July 24 at the AVEVA Stadium in Houston, Texas. Kick is set for 7:00 p.m. CT, and the contest will be streamed live at www.mlsnextpro.com.

0-1 TAC – Juan Alvarez, Assist by Travian Sousa (10’)
0-2 TAC – Travian Sousa, Assist by Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez (46’)
0-3 TAC – Marlon Vargas, PK (62’)
1-3 MIN – Sagir Arce, Assist by Tommy Williamson (65’)
2-3 MIN – Tommy Williamson (73’)

Yellow, TAC – Wallis Lapsley (7’)
Yellow, TAC – Reed Baker-Whiting (14’)
Yellow, MIN – Ignacia Gutierrez (33’)
Yellow, MIN – Nick Mendonca (72’)
Yellow, TAC – Alfred Gombe-Fei (83’)

1 – Attacking midfielder Sagir Arce scored his first MNUFC2 and MLS Next Pro goal in the 65th minute, just one full minute after he entered the match against Tacoma
2 – Loons midfielder Aziel Jackson led the team in key passes with two against Tacoma. Jackson is second in the league in key passes made with 37
13 – Ignacio Gutierrez won 13 of his 18 duels against the Defiance, leading the team on the night

TEAM LEADERS (Updated through July 17)
Goals – Aziel Jackson (6)
Assists – Aziel Jackson (5)
Saves – Fred Emmings (33)
Wins – Fred Emmings (3)
Shutouts – Eric Dick (2)