The Vancouver Whitecaps were lacking in goals. After all, goals win soccer games. That’s what happened on Saturday night as they put up three goals in a very frantic 3-2 win over Minnesota United.
After two draws where it felt like they should have won, a win feels like a breath of fresh air. It was their first win since April 8.
With the win, the Whitecaps sit seventh in the Western Conference with 14 points (The Houston Dynamo also has 14 points) and still sit in a playoff position.
Vancouver is now undefeated in eight games with three wins and five draws. Hey, that’s pretty good.
The game started off quite frantic as there were turnovers and chances on both ends.
However, the Whitecaps got their first goal since April 8 as Brian White got on the breakaway and beat Dayne St.Clair cleanly. That goal would’ve not had happened without Andrés Cubas’ interception though. Well, that’s what he does. I’ve said it before, he’s like a dog with a bone except replace the bone with the ball. He just wants it back.
The Whitecaps were hungry to add to their lead. But once again, their dinner couldn’t be finished. There were two glorious chances late in the half with White once again in alone on St. Clair but the Canadian international got his leg on it. Was it a good save by St. Clair? Absolutely. Should have White finished that? Yep.
Ryan Gauld found Pedro Vite in the box and St. Clair was out of position. You think Vite finished off his header right? Nope.
Sure, Vite is not a striker but the goal was wide-open.
The Whitecaps did give up a goal off a Minnesota corner as former ‘Cap Michael Boxall snuck one past Yohei Takaoka. So much for the shutout streak.
You know that old computer game 3d Space Cadet Pinball? That is what watching Boxall’s goal felt like. The ball was bouncing everywhere and not a single Whitecaps knew what to do. Pretty sloppy goal to give up.
The Whitecaps made sure to keep the gas pedal on in the second half.
White did get his brace as he poked in the loose ball off a corner kick. He won…but at what cost? Well, White was injured on the play. At first glance, it looked like he poked the ball in the net with his…sensitive area. Wouldn’t be the first time a Vancouver athlete got hit in the sensitive area. Remember Sami Salo blocked a shot in the 2010 playoffs against the LA Kings and came back? The fans chanted Balls of Steel.
Turns out, the ball didn’t hit his balls. White collided with St. Clair in a knee-on-knee collision and was in a lot of pain.
White was subbed off for Simon Becher and quicker than Sonic The Hedgehog says “gotta go fast,” Becher extended the Whitecaps lead with his team-leading fourth goal of the MLS season. That was about 29 seconds before he came on according to Michael McColl of AFTN. By the way, Cubas started that counter-attack with another interception. He is just a great player.
Ryan Gauld also got his first assist of the season. Gauld has had a quiet start to the season and hopefully, that gets him going offensively.
However, the Whitecaps back line started to fall asleep like how a Pokemon falls asleep after Jigglypuff uses sing. San Bin Jeong hypnotized the Whitecaps defence and made them stand still and he made no mistake with his shot.
It was a nervy end to the game. The Whitecaps were trying but failing to get the dagger.
For once, Whitecaps fans can be thankful for BC Place’s turf as Minnesota left back Kemar Lawrence was in alone on Takaoka by the left post. But he couldn’t get the shot off because he slipped. I had that weird cartoon slipping sound effect in my head when Lawrence fell.
Bin Jeong nearly tied it late but his shot curled wide at the last second. I thought that was in. It would have been the perfect revenge for Minnesota after Becher’s late equalizer at Allianz Field back in March.
Overall, the Whitecaps fought hard. There were a few sloppy mistakes but it was good to see them (particularly White) score goals. They did a good job of adapting to Minnesota United’s early pressure by creating pressure of their own.
What was said
Vancouver Whitecaps head coach Vanni Sartini was pleased with the win. After all, he guaranteed a win last week.
But the Whitecaps head coach believes that the win is something to build on.
“We need to keep trusting the process and improve the things we need to improve,” said Sartini.
He also made a bold statement about his team.
“This year is going to be special.
Sartini was also asked about White’s brace.
“I think he showed everyone he is important to the team,” he said.
White came into the conference room wearing a bandage on his knee but he did not limp. Sartini labelled him as day-to-day.
“It’s been a difficult year, there has been a lot of opportunities that haven’t gone in,” said White on his season and two goals. “For me, it is about having confidence.”
Schöpf also spoke about his return to the lineup.
“Felt good, I was out for 4 weeks but I still need to improve my match fitness…but it will come with every training and match,” he said.
Stat of the match
The Whitecaps’ shutout streak ended at 443 minutes. That is a new club record.
The big question
White did say that the ball hit his thigh by the way.
The Whipping Boy
Teibert didn’t directly contribute to Minnesota’s second goal but it happened seconds after he came on. But of course, Whitecaps Twitter was up in arms about it.
David Ousted impression
I do remember watching David Ousted hit the scoreboard with a goal kick but I was watching it on TV. Watching someone hit the scoreboard live was a fever dream. Though I figured it would happen sooner or later once I started covering the ‘Caps.
Dun Dun Dun Dun Dun Dun Dun
Once Becher comes on, other teams should be very scared. They are going to need a bigger boat.
Tweet of the match
This was easily the best Tweet of the match. Well done!
The Whitecaps travel to the Greater Toronto Area to face York United in the quarterfinal of the Canadian Championship on Wednesday. Kickoff is at 4:30 pm Pacific.
After that, next Saturday sees them face the Portland Timbers at hostile Providence Park. Kickoff for that game is at 7:30 pm Pacific.