Herriman, Utah - It’s funny how things have a way of coming full circle sometimes. On April 1, 2017, Minnesota United FC collected its first-ever MLS win against Real Salt Lake. Exactly five years and seven days later, the club’s brand-new MLS NEXT Pro club took home victory number 1 against none other than RSL’s NEXT Pro club, the Real Monarchs.

It was a big mile marker for a club that has quite literally been around for less time than Bennifer part II. A few months ago, MNUFC2 was holding open tryouts. Today, behind a starting lineup that featured a mix of homegrown talent and first-round draft picks, alongside second-team signees and open-tryouts dicoverees, MNUFC2 put on an offensive masterclass that propelled them to that oh-so-sweet feeling of victory.

The scoring opened in the 24th minute when Emmanuel Iwe placed an absolutely-perfect corner kick on the left side of the six-yard box where an unmarked Nabi Kibunguchy was waiting to head it home.

It was the first lead of the season for MNUFC2, but that didn’t cause the Loons to sit back and play conservatively. Instead, it seemed to open the floodgates of aggressive play, which bore fruit a dozen minutes later when a pressing Emmanuel Iwe (yep, that name again) intercepted a poor pass from Luis Rivera in the Monarchs defensive third, heading the ball back into the penalty area where Aziel Jackson sprinted by a pair of confused-looking defenders to collect the ball and slip it past goalkeeper Blake Kelly, leaving the defenders left staring at one another in a, “Wait, I thought you were gonna get it” sort of way.

The Monarchs wouldn’t go away easily, however. They came out of halftime firing on all cylinders and got the score back within a goal when Marcus Vazquez sent a breathtaking left-footed cross from roughly forty yards out that looped to the top of the six-yard box where Bobby Pierre sprinted in to head it home over the back of Devin Padelford.

The next thirty minutes would go by without much action as tired legs struggled to create good opportunities on both sides. That is, until Diogo Pacheco, an MNUFC2 signee who subbed on in the 71st minute, put on a dribbling display for the ages, weaving his way through four defenders before putting a sliding kick beyond the outstretched arms of the diving keeper.

Pacheco’s goal would prove to be much-needed insurance for the Loons, as SLC found one more score in the 90th minute on a Pedro Fonseca header. It was too little, too late for the Monarchs, however, and MNUFC2 was able to kill the final three minutes without trouble to bring home their first three points of the season.

Up next, MNUFC2 will look to carry their momentum back to Saint Paul, when they return home for an Easter Sunday showdown against Colorado Rapids 2. Tickets are available at SeatGeek.com, and the match will be available for streaming at mlsnextpro.com.