Minnesota surges into match vs. foundering Whitecaps
Field Level Mediaon
Minnesota United, looking to further cement their status as a playoff team, will play host to the reeling Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday night.
Minnesota (10-7-4, 34 points) will have the added advantage of playing in its own venue, the new Allianz Field, which has treated the Loons well in their inaugural season. The Loons are 6-1-3 at home this season and have won each of their past three games there by a combined score of 11-2.
With an overall unbeaten streak that reached five games with a 1-1 tie at Real Salt Lake last Saturday, Minnesota United has made a charge into the back half of the schedule as just 13 games remain, including the visit from the Whitecaps. The Loons sit in fourth place in the Western Conference.
With 38 total goals this season, MNUFC is the third-highest-scoring team in the league behind Los Angeles FC and the Philadelphia Union. But the Loons' scoring punch is distributed all over the roster, with Darwin Quintero scoring seven goals and five other players finding the back of the net at least three times.
On defense, the team is down toward the middle of the pack with 30 goals allowed. That should at least be partially addressed with the arrival of French second-division defender Wilfried Moimbe, signed this week.
Vancouver enters having lost five consecutive games by a combined score of 17-2, and the team is winless in its past eight.
"Obviously (Vancouver) is disappointed with its last few results, but this is football," Minnesota coach Adrian Heath said. "We've got to treat them with the respect they deserve because they have too many good players for us to think this is going to be an easy game. There are never easy games in this league."
The Whitecaps (4-11-8, 20 points) have not won a game since a 2-1 home victory over FC Dallas on May 25. They are just 1-6-4 on the road this season and are in last place in the Western Conference.
"First and foremost, we take it all personally," Whitecaps midfielder Andy Rose said. "We feel for the fans. They deserve so much more in the last five, six weeks. They haven't gone home happy or entertained, and that's really tough to take."
MNUFC has a pair of players listed as questionable: forward Angelo Rodriguez (ankle) and midfielder Osvaldo Alonso (shoulder). Vancouver will be without defender Jasser Khmiri (knee) and midfielder Lass Bangoura (adductor), while the status of midfielder David Norman Jr. (foot) was unclear after he appeared in a training game this week.