Saturday night's game was an indicator of the significant progress the Loons of MNUFC2 have made over the past two months. The last time this team met Sporting KC II, they gave up a clean sheet loss of 2-0. The boys came into this match riding a seven-game undefeated streak, with more time to gel as a team and a desire for redemption. The Loons certainly did not disappoint.

The beginning of the match consisted of a back-and-forth battle. There were some decent shot attempts from both sides, but neither squad was able to find the net. Sporting KC II had more opportunities than the Loons, but ultimately hit the ball wide on the bulk of their attempts.

The real heroes of those first 45 minutes were the keepers. Both Fred Emmings and Kendall McIntosh had some gorgeous saves. A commanding presence in the box and unyielding physicality from both keepers kept the score 0-0 at the close of the first half. 

In the second half, the Loons found their footing on the offensive side as well. MNUFC2 maintained more possession of the ball and were able to test the Sporting KC II keeper more often. The beginning of the second half was similar to the first in that it continued to be a back and forth affair, but the energy looked like it was shifting towards the Loons.

Tommy Williamson finally broke through the game’s scoring woes in the 74th minute. Nick Mendonca threaded a pass to Williamson up the left side of the field. Williamson had a 1v1 on the left side of the box, and with a quick cut to his left foot, he was able to create a gap to the goal. Williamson capitalized with a gorgeously placed ball to the right side of the net, making this the third straight game with a goal from him.

Not long after, Diogo Pacheco doubled the lead with a goal in the 78th minute. Mendonca intercepted the ball in the back half of the field, and with a pass to Williamson up top, began a play so beautiful it looked rehearsed. Williamson received the ball and shook off the defense with some quick touches. He passed the ball wide left to Velijiko Petković who drove up the field. While Petković had the ball, Diogo Pacheco was making a run into the middle of the box. With a perfectly timed and placed pass, Petković found Pacheco who capitalized with a dart to the back post.

Sporting KC II was able to get on the board in the 91st minute. KC II had a shot attempt that hit Emmanuel Iwe’s hand in the box. A penalty kick was awarded and Rauf Selifu faced off against Fred Emmings. Selifu fired a cannon at the upper left corner of the net and sealed a place on the scorecard for KC II.

With only minutes left on the clock, Sporting KC II fought for another goal but the whistle blew and the final score remained 2-1 Loons. This match was a battle between rivals, and a battle that showcased the improvement that MNUFC2 has made over the course of the season. This win means the Loons are now undefeated for eight straight games. Still on a hot-streak, MNUFC2 is presently in 4th place in the Western Conference and sitting in playoff position. The Loons are prepped to face Earthquakes II on June 8th. Let’s hope they can keep this momentum alive and continue to move up the rankings with another win this Wednesday.