Minnesota United 2 and Whitecaps FC 2 played out to a 2-2 draw Saturday evening at Swangard Stadium, with the Loons taking an extra point in the ensuing shootout, winning 3-1 in kicks from the spot.
MNUFC2 have now extended their unbeaten streak to six straight matches while WFC2 have earned a result in seven of their last eight. A four-goal first half saw the two sides erupt with attacking confidence, seeing MNUFC2 go ahead twice, with the hosts drawing level after conceding each time through two MNUFC2 own goals.
Heroics from goalkeeper Fred Emmings saw the MNUFC2 big man make two saves in kicks from the spot, helping them earn an additional point on the road.
MNUFC2 defender Andrew Brown opened the scoring for the away side in the 12th minute, heading home on his professional debut for his first-ever goal on his first-ever start.
MNUFC2 wingback Emmanuel Iwe was the culprit for the hosts' opener, with the defender knocking the ball into his own net to see WFC2 draw level in the 28th minute. The away side countered with a go-ahead goal 14 minutes later.
MNUFC2 striker Tommy Williamson gave the Loons the lead from the penalty spot in the 41st, but once again, the hosts were set to draw level… just not in the way they would expect.
A freak goal saw WFC2 draw level just two minutes later, with the ball being launched from the halfway mark on the pitch towards the MNUFC2 net and their goalkeeper Fred Emmings. Backtracking, Emmings appeared to lose the ball in the sun and was unable to keep the long-range shot out, eventually palming the ball into his own net.
In a match between two of the best in the West, the hype lived up to performances on the pitch.
MNUFC2 will look to make it seven-straight unbeaten in week 10 when they host Colorado Rapids 2, while WFC2 hit the road to take on Sporting KC II.
Six games unbeaten now sees Cameron Knowles’ Minnesota United 2 flying higher than ever. Top chance creator in MLS NEXT Pro, Aziel Jackson, didn’t find his name on the scoresheet this evening but it was an immaculate attacking performance from the away side nonetheless.
21 shots with 8 landing on target, a 61.5%-38.5% possession advantage and 13 corner kicks was not enough for all three points, but Emmings' heroics in the shootout saw the Minnesota United FC homegrown product earn redemption for his first-half blunder.
WFC2 held on late and deservedly took a point away from the match with a wonderful defensive performance in the second half. Goalkeeper Ben Alexander made six total saves on the night and provided a big stop in the penalty shootout as well. They’ve now found a result in seven of their last eight matches, with their only losses this season coming against MLS NEXT Pro’s top-two Western Conference sides in Houston Dynamo 2 and North Texas SC.