Minnesota United FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps Preview
GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - After their second consecutive road victory, Minnesota United will look to secure their first win at home this season against the Vancouver Whitecaps. Minnesota leads the all-time matchups with a 5-3-3 record (W-L-D), with the Loons sweeping Vancouver in both matches last season. Saturday's game falls during the March international window, meaning both teams will see lineup adjustments at the weekend. Seven Loons will join their respective national teams during this time. Despite international duty, Minnesota United will look to continue their momentum and earn three points at home, while the Canadian side hopes to win for their first time this season.
ADRIAN HEATH ON FACING VANCOUVER WITH SEVEN PLAYERS ABSENT
"I did say after the game on Saturday and I will repeat it again: there's no excuse wherever. I will not make an excuse that the fact that we've got seven players away this weekend, eight players away. We have a squad of 28 players and that's why you have a squad of 28. At some stage, you're going to be called upon. I look at the likes of Cameron Dunbar. He's had a great preseason, worked really, really hard. This is a big opportunity for him this weekend. Some of the younger guys will be on the bench and maybe get on the field, so when one door closes, it opens for other people. As Dayne [St. Clair] proved last year, opportunities can come along and if you take them, it can be a career changing decision sometimes."
FRANCO FRAGAPANE ON HAVING MORE PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY TO STEP UP
[SPA]: "No, la responsabilidad creo que la tenemos todos. Este es un grupo. Creo que el equipo está bien. Los jugadores que van a entrar tienen muchas ganas de jugar y lo van a ser bien."
[ENG]: "No, everyone has the responsibility. This is a group. I think the team will be good. The players that are going to come in want to play and they're going to do it well."
STORYLINES PRESENTED BY BMW
A number of players will be absent from both sides, with seven Loons and two Whitecaps being called into international duty for their respective home countries. And, those seven players make up a big chunk of the talent that contributed to this season's fast start: Dayne St. Clair (Canada), Kervin Arriaga (Honduras), Joseph Rosales (Honduras), Robin Lod (Finland), Bongokuhle Hlongwane (South Africa), Michael Boxall (New Zealand) and Kemar Lawrence (Jamaica).
Coach taking on the "next man up" mentality is nothing new. But, for the gaffer, the game against Vancouver is less about player absences and more about who will seize the opportunity to stand out. Since his arrival from LA Galaxy, Heath has been high on Cameron Dunbar's play, pointing out his tireless work effort and his drive to get better each day.
The Vancouver side will take less of a hit to their starting XI, with defender Javain Brown (Jamaica) and midfielder Andres Cubas (Paraguay) being the only two 'Caps called into international duty. While that may have an impact on how the Whitecaps approach the game, the club's 2022 Player of the Year, Ryan Gauld, will be there in the midfield to make things difficult for whoever starts in the Loons backline.
The Whitecaps may be entering the contest winless on the season, but they will definitely have revenge on their mind. The end of their 2022 season was at Allianz Field, where the Loons ended Vancouver's dreams of sneaking into the MLS Playoffs on Decision Day.
PLAYER AVAILABILITY REPORT:
B. Dibassy - Thigh
R. Jiba - Knee
E. Reynoso - Suspended
MINNESOTA UNITED FC vs. VANCOUVER WHITECAPS
ALLIANZ FIELD | SAINT PAUL, MINNESOTA
03.25.23 | MLS Regular Season | Matchday 5
7:30 p.m. CT (MLS Season Pass; MNUFC Radio on 1500 ESPN)
MIN: 2-0-1 (0-0-1 at home)
VAN: 0-2-2 (0-1-1 on the road)
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