Sun. Dec 10th, 2023

Image: MNUFC2

MNUFC2’s six-match road stretch to start the 2023 season is finally over, and they’re heading back to Blaine with a mostly positive result. The Twos drew Austin FC II 1-1 Friday night, falling 6-5 in penalty kicks, in a wet and weather-delayed affair in Texas.

“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,” said MNUFC2 manager Cameron Knowles.

Storms and lightning in the area of Parmer Field caused a three-hour delay from the originally scheduled 6 p.m kickoff.

After a scoreless first half that saw a good chance from Emmanuel Iwe via Patrick Weah in the 10th minute, Diogo Pacheco bagged the lone goal for the visitors in the 54th. It’s his fifth of the season, putting the midfielder tied atop the MLS NEXT Pro Golden Boot race.

It’s also the fifth time in six matches MNUFC2 have scored first.

“We had a really good chance in the first half that we don’t take advantage of,” said Knowles. “We [did] a good job in the second half to take the chance that we had. We had to weather the storm a little bit.”

It looked like the Doubloons were primed to get all three points on the road after Austin’s Cheick Toure received his second yellow card just past the hour mark, putting the hosts a man down and a goal down with just 30+ minutes to go. However, the Verde were able to get their equalizer in the 86th minute when Emmanuel Johnson collided with Minnesota’s Rory O’Driscoll and won the ball, then beat Fred Emmings to draw level.

After a regulation draw, the teams went to a penalty shootout to decide who would gather an extra point from the contest. It took eight rounds, but Austin would edge MNUFC2 in the extra session. With the result, Austin keep their unbeaten start and first place standing in the West, while Minnesota return home sitting fourth in the Western Conference standings with a 3-2-1 record.

Mounds View’s Micah Burton came on as a sub in the 81st minute for Austin, scoring a penalty kick in the shootout.

“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,” said Knowles. “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.”

Next up, the Twos play their first match on home soil Sunday, May 7 against Chicago Fire II. Kickoff at Blaine’s National Sports Center is set for 7 p.m. CT and can be streamed on MLS Season Pass.

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