MNUFC2 Completes Season Opening Road Trip on a Three Match Skid

MNUFC2 played Austin FC II to a 1-1 draw, before falling in penalties on Friday, April 28. (Photo courtesy MNUFC2)

After opening the season with two massive away wins, MNUFC2 did not find the same success in the final four matches of the season opening six match road trip. MN2 extended initially extended the winning streak to three with a 2-1 win over LA Galaxy II in Carson, CA. Following the win in California, MNUFC2 fell to North Texas SC 2-1 in Arlington, TX before heading to Burnaby, BC where the side lost to Whitecaps FC 2 by a score of 5-2. MNUFC2 finished off the trip tonight with a 1-1 draw, followed by losing the extra point in pk’s to Austin FC II at the St. David’s Performance Center in Austin, TX.

Matchday 3 at LA Galaxy II:

MNUFC2’s third stop on the opening six match road trip saw the Loons head to Carson, CA to face LA Galaxy II for the first time. LAGII entered the match at 0-2-0 in their first season season playing in MLS Next Pro, having departed the USL Championship over the offseason. Minnesota made three changes to the Starting XI from the previous week in St. Louis with Juan Mosquera, Rory O’Driscoll, and Carlos Leatherman replacing Dunbar, Rosales, and Marqués, all of whom we’re with the first team in Chicago the night before.

Minnesota started the game fast with Tani Oluwaseyi scoring a goal from nearly 25 yards out, after splitting between two defenders, just three minutes into the match. LA Galaxy II’s Brandon Téllez drew the match even just three minutes later with his own goal from the top of the penalty arc. Five minutes after the second goal, Minnesota’s Geremy Rodas was issued the first of the matches three yellow cards for a bad foul. After Oluwaseyi was fouled inside the box by Marcus Ferkranus, MNUFC2’s Emmanuel Iwe stepped up to the spot and scored a PK goal in the 36′ to give Minnesota the lead and get the game winning goal. MN2’s Britton Fischer was issued a yellow in the 76′. LAGII’s Adrián González was also issued a yellow at 90+3′. Over the course of the 2-1 win Pacheco, Mesanvi (67′) and Weah (82′) were all brought on as subs.

Matchday 4 at North Texas SC:

With three straight wins under their the belt the Twos headed to Texas for the first of two matches in the state during MNUFC2’s extended road trip. North Texas on the other hand came into the match with two consecutive losses and having been outscored a combined 7-1 in those matches. Minnesota would have a formation change from a 4-3-3 to a 4-2-3-1-12 but make only two changes to the Starting XI with Nick Richardson making his second start of 2023 and CC Uche making his first of the season.

Zayden Bello opened the scoring in the 18th minute of the match, when he sent a shot sneaking past Antonio Carrera after a cross was floated deep into the box. Later in the half North Texas was issued the first two of five total yellow cards, when Perlaza and Norris were issued yellow cards in the 28′ and 39′ respectively. Minnesota’s Devin Padelford was also issued a yellow in the 44th minute. Theo Henrique put North Texas on the board in the 60th minute to draw the match even at 1-1. Shortly after at the 62nd minute MNUFC2 made their first two substitutions with Pacheco and Mesanvi coming on to replace Iwe and Mosquera in the 62′, Leatherman was issued a yellow in the 76th. Herbert Endeley scored the match winning goal for NTX in the 81st when he slipped a shot low and to Fred Emmings right side while inside the box. North Texas was issued three more yellow cards to three different players in the final 19 minutes plus stoppage. Patrick Weah came on to replace Richardson for Minnesota in the 86th, right before MN2 had a goal disallowed on an offsides call.

MNUFC2’s XI before the second half of a 5-2 loss at Whitecaps FC 2 on Sunday, April 23. (Photo courtesy MNUFC2)

Matchday 5 at Whitecaps FC 2:

Following the first loss of the season for the Twos, they headed out of the country and to Canada to face Whitecaps FC 2 in the first of two meetings on the season. Similar to Minnesota, WFC2 was also coming off their first loss of the season, having fallen to LA Galaxy II the previous week. Minnesota made four changes to the Starting XI with Oluwaseyi, Iwe, Padelford, and Fischer all missing the match. In the first visit to Swangard Stadium by a Minnesota team since 2010, it would not end well for the visitors as MNUFC2 would fall 5-2 in Burnaby, BC.

Patrick Weah did get the Twos on the board first with a 16th minute opener, Whitecaps FC 2 then scored two in a row before Diogo Pacheco evened the match at 2-2 in first half stoppage time. Six minutes into the second half WFC2 got the game winner on a PK following a foul by Nick Richardson inside the box. Whitecaps FC 2 added a fourth goal in the 70th, then scored a fifth in the 84th minute.

Following the match, MNUFC2 head coach Cameron Knowles said,

“The result was disappointing, but I thought the performance was quite good from the guys. We showed a lot of character to come back and score that goal right before half time, a really critical moment in the game. Even coming out in the second half, I thought we played well in stretches of the game, made some really good individual performances. Chasing the game is always going to be difficult at 4-2. But even when it went 4-2, I thought we had a goal in us and that we were going to make it interesting and get it back to 4-4. Just disappointed in the result, but really not disappointed in the fight, the battle, and the group continuing to chase that goal.”

Matchday 6 at Austin FC II:

Coming off two consecutive losses, Minnesota headed into Austin, TX for the final match of their extended season opening road swing for a date with Austin FC II. MNUFC2 saw the return of Emmanuel Iwe and Britton Fischer to the lineup, after the two had played earlier in the week for the first team in the US Open Cup and having missed the previous match. Kickoff at Parmer Field was originally scheduled for 6pm local time, though due to weather the match kickoff was delayed multiple times with the match eventually kicking off past 9pm.

After a tough first half which saw Austin dominate Minnesota in shots, it was MNUFC2 who got on the board first. Diogo Pacheco bagged his fifth goal of the season in the 54th minute when he scored on a mid-stride shot after receiving a pass from Patrick Weah. Austin’s Cheick Touré was issued a second yellow resulting in himself being sent off in the 61′ and forcing Austin to play the remainder of the match down a man. Austin’s Emmanuel Johnson found the equalizer in the 86th on a goal called into slight question due to a possible foul by Johnson just before having scored. With the match being tied after 90 minutes, the match went into penalty kicks where Austin defeated MNUFC2 6-5 in eight rounds to earn the extra point.

Following the loss in penalties, Cameron Knowles said,

“It’s positive in the fact that we’re the first team to come here and take points off of them. They’d won all their games here up until this point and for us to come in and get a result… it feels probably not as good with having been up a goal and up a man and they get back into the game, and then we lose the shootout. But, we’ve got 10 points out of six games on the road to start out the year, and I think that’s a really good start when we look at that in its entirety.”