A trio of first half assists from Diogo Pacheco saw Minnesota United 2 take down St Louis City 2 in a 4-0 victory at Hermann Stadium Sunday evening.
CITY2 were handed their first loss of the season, while Cameron Knowles side earned their third-straight victory.
2021 MLS Superdraft first-round pick Justin McMaster opened the scoring for the away side in the 22nd minute, and just four minutes later, Minnesota United homegrown midfielder Aziel Jackson doubled their lead with a lovely solo goal.
GOAL: Aziel Jackson, MNUFC2 - 26th minute
Both McMaster and Jackson found the back of the net for the third time this season, while McMaster also added a fourth from the penalty spot in the 87th.
In first half stoppage time, forward Tommy Williamson added a third, with Pacheco assisting once again, serving up a gentleman’s hat trick in the first 45.
GOAL: Thomas Williamson, MNUFC2 - 46th minute
MNUFC2 added a fourth from the penalty spot in the 87th minute, with McMaster having no hesitation and finding the bottom right corner of the net.
MNUFC2 have now scored 12 goals in their past three matches, with their second-straight 4-0 victory, while keeping a second-straight clean sheet with goalkeeper Eric Dick in net.
Following Sunday’s result, MNUFC2 have now scored 11 goals in the last three matches, while recording their second 4-0 win in as many weeks. Forward Justin McMaster found the back of the net for the fourth time this season, while Aziel Jackson added his third. Winger Diogo Pacheco recorded a gentleman's hat trick in the first half, assisting on all three goals scored from open play.
MNUFC2 head coach Cameron Knowles praised his attacking core for their performance on the night, while adding that it was a full team effort from the back to the front.
“We knew that the game was going to be difficult for us, we knew it was going to be physical but we took our chances and I’m really pleased with the result,” Knowles said
MNUFC2 scored twice in a four-minute span to open things up in the 22nd and 26th minutes, and from there, the entire match opened up playing to the tempo of the away side. They added a third in first-half stoppage time and finished things off from the penalty spot in the 87th minute.
Knowles noted that CITY2’s midweek bout in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup was bound to factor into their match tonight, adjusting his side’s gameplan to try and close things down early.
“I think they put so many numbers forward that allowed us to break the line and get our chances, we saw that with the likes of Diogo, Justin and Aziel Jackson.”
With the result, MNUFC2 have now won three straight matches and find themselves sitting third in the Western Conference and 5th overall across the league.
Pacheco’s performance caught the eye of viewers both on screen and in-stadium, with Knowles praising the winger for his “determination” and “fight” to win his battles on the pitch tonight.
Born in Lisbon, Portugal, Pacheco is a collegiate product out of Akron University where over three seasons he scored 10 goals and notched 4 assists in 34 appearances. 2022 is his first year with the Minnesota United organization, where he was signed to an MLS NEXT Pro contract on March 23rd.
In his first start of the season, Pacheco took advantage of the opportunity presented to him and put on a passing clinic. His first of three assists to Justin McMaster may have been the cleanest.
GOAL: Justin McMaster, MNUFC2 - 22nd minute
Knowles added that having competition in attacking positions tends to force players to show their value in a starting role, and for Pacheco, he did just that tonight. The Loons head coach was thrilled with his team’s performance, but picked out his left winger for his role in creating three of the four goals scored on the evening.