Minnesota United FC at Vancouver Whitecaps Preview
GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - It's comeback after comeback for the Loons over the last two games, with a come-from-behind win at home against the Portland Timbers this past Saturday, before scoring at the death in a midweek game at LAFC to pick up a point on the road. Great second half execution of the coach's gameplan earned the Loons a point on Wednesday night, with goals from Emanuel Reynoso and Hassani Dotson. Minnesota will look to build on that second half success by creating chances early to switch things up and go ahead against Vancouver, then lock down the Whitecaps' attacking core to hold that lead for the entire 90 minutes.
ADRIAN HEATH ON NOT GETTING MANY RESULTS ON THE ROAD YET
"I just don't think we've played as hard as we can. It would be very easy for me, Pierre, to say circumstances but I just don't think we've played as well as we can on the road. Tonight, I was so pleased. I thought the players got what we deserved this evening. Yeah, [LAFC] had a lot of possession, yeah they ask a lot of questions of you but I honestly thought we had goals in us all night. I'm pleased for the group, but we go again now. We've got to dust ourselves down, see how everybody is tomorrow. Vancouver have had a nice little run of late. They look as though they've turned the corner themselves. We know it's not going to be easy, it never is at Salt Lake with the altitude and a team that's coming off the back of a draw here and a win at the weekend. They'll be very confident as well."
HASSANI DOTSON ON THE TEAM SCORING LATE GOALS THIS SEASON
"We know that we're a good team and we can compete with anyone. It's just about applying the energy and the passion for us to keep playing forward. And if we're not having a good game we know that we just need one play to turn it around. We keep focusing on each moment and I think we can do big things this year."
It's a different surrounding in 2021 for the Vancouver Whitecaps, who are calling Rio Tinto Stadium in sunny Utah home this season. The Whitecaps are similarly coming into the match having played their previous game against LAFC at Banc of Califorina Stadium. That Saturday game began with two early goals for Vancouver, but they were unable to hold that lead for the full 90 minutes, conceding twice unanswered as LAFC and the Whitecaps split a point. The Vancouver attackers have a knack for finding space inside the box and punishing opponents caught unaware. It will be focused defense and an organized defending unit that leads to points on the road for the Loons.
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LOD MONEY DON'T WANT EVERYTHING HE WANTS IT ALL: Robin Lod has been demonstrating a real knack for coming up big in the clutch recently. He leads the team in goals with four, and three of those goals have come after the 80th minute this season. But if you dig in, his capabilities in high leverage moments have been on display for a while. Since 2019, he's scored 46.7% of his goals after the 75th minute, and that's a higher percentage than any other player in MLS with at least 15 goals. Upon joining the team that year, the immediate impression was of a player who brought a little more of a stable, consistent approach to playing in the attacking midfield, one built on good decision making and a willingness to defend from the front. He might not have seemed as dynamic an attacker as Kevin Molino or some of the other wingers the team have used, but it's clear at this point that he knows when to pour it on and how to do what's necessary to get a result. His positional flexibility continues to be a huge asset for the team, as having him start on the right wing can allow him to shift to the forward position, or even vice versa. It allows Heath to change the complexion of the team with one sub instead of two, and that's a tremendous asset when it comes to presenting opposing defenses with multiple looks while keeping options on the bench at other positions on the field.
FIRST TOUCHES: The last time Minnesota kicked off against Vancouver was on May 12, 2021. The match ended in a 1-0 win for Minnesota United, with Ramon Abila earning his first goal for the club.
PLAYER AVAILABILITY REPORT:
St. Clair - International Duty
Fragapane - Thigh
Boxall - Thigh
Gasper - Hip
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