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Fans in attendance at the National Sports Center Stadium got front row seats to the Justin McMaster and Aziel Jackson soccer show on Sunday evening when MNUFC2 returned to winning ways by defeating Timbers2 by a score of 3-1.

The Loons held control throughout the majority of the first half on both sides of the ball. Offensively, MNUFC2 sent 65 passes in its final third, winning four corners and firing off seven shots to Portland’s zero. Defensively, Minnesota limited Timbers2, winning seven tackles including a defender Carlos Leatherman successful tackle in the Loons’ six-yard box following a Portland run to goal in the 25th minute. Two minutes later, midfielder Justin McMaster connected a pass from midfielder Aziel Jackson inside the 18-yard box, finishing a shot and scoring the opening goal of the match. The goal was McMaster’s fifth in MLS Next Pro action and his first since scoring twice at St. Louis CITY2 (April 24).

In the second half, both sides created close chances on goal, but the lead remained with the Loons until the 62nd minute, when Timbers2 forward Selmir Miscic scored off a chip shot, equalizing the match at 1-1. But all-square lasted only five minutes when Aziel Jackson found open space in the left side of the box, tucking his shot in the upper corner of the near post and giving Minnesota the 2-1 lead. In the 89th minute, Loons’ attacking midfielder Sagir Arce made a run at goal just past the keeper, taking a shot that hit the post. Forward Tommy Williamson was in perfect position to receive the rebound and scored to extend Minnesota’s lead and final score to 3-1.

With the win, MNUFC2 remains in the seventh position in the MLS Next Pro Western Conference standings (7-7-3, 27 points).

MNUFC2 travels to the Rocky Mountains to face the Colorado Rapids on August 6 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado. Kick is set for 11:00 p.m. CT, and the contest will be streamed live at www.mlsnextpro.com.

GOALS
1-0 MIN – Justin McMaster, Assist by Aziel Jackson (27’)
1-1 POR – Selmir Miscic (62’)
2-1 MIN – Aziel Jackson, Assist by Justin McMaster (67’)
3-1 MIN – Tommy Williamson (89’)

DISCIPLINARY SUMMARY
Yellow, POR – Vova Kubrakov (33’)
Yellow, MIN – Ignacia Gutierrez (50’)
Yellow, POR – G Doran (87’)
Yellow, POR – Julian Bravo (88’)
Yellow, MIN – Sagir Arce (90’+4’)

NOTABLE STATS
20-5 – MNUFC2 outshot Timbers2 20-5, with shots on target favoring the Loons 8-3
6 – Loons midfielder Aziel Jackson led the team with six shots on goal (five on target)
7 – Midfielder Justin McMaster’s seven chances created led both sides on Sunday evening
88 – Minnesota defender and Sunday’s captain Callum Montgomery connected 88 percent of his passes against Timbers2
30 – Forward Tommy Williamson scored MNUFC2’s 30th regular-season goal in MLS Next Pro action to-date this season

TEAM LEADERS (Updated through July 31)
Goals – Aziel Jackson (7)
Assists – Aziel Jackson (6)
Saves – Fred Emmings (33)
Wins – Fred Emmings (3)
Shutouts – Eric Dick (2)