Vancouver Comfortably Dispatches Minnesota, Climb to Top of West

by on 14 September 2017

Minnesota fell late Wednesday night to an in-form Vancouver Whitecaps. Goals from Yordy Reyna, Erik Hurtado, and Brek Shea sealed the win for Vancouver.

Starting lineup

Adrian Heath had to deal with the loss of two key players for Minnesota. Kevin Molino did not make the matchday squad due to illness. Francisco Calvo did not travel with the team, instead staying home with his newborn son.

Bobby Shuttleworth took his usual spot between the sticks. In front of him, Boxall and Kallman continued their partnership in the middle. On the right Jérôme Thiesson, and on the left replacing Calvo, was Ish Jome.

Ibson and Collen Warner would patrol the middle of the pitch for the second match in a row. On the wings were Sam Nicholson and Ethan Finlay. Replacing Molino at the 10 spot was Johan Venegas as Abu Danladi took his place up top.

Christian Ramirez and Marc Burch were on the bench, both players returned from injury.

Vancouver, coming off of a back-and-forth 3-2 win at home against Real Salt Lake, put out a strong lineup as a win in this game would land the Whitecaps at the top of the Western Standings. Most notably, 16-year-old Canadian phenom Alphonso Davies started on the wing for Vancouver. The youngster was a surprise winner of the Golden Boot in the Gold Cup earlier this summer. At left back Marcel de Jong made his fifth start of the MLS season and had the arduous task of shutting down the speedy Ethan Finlay.

First half

Vancouver kicked off to start the match at BC Place. The first few minutes were controlled by Vancouver. And for the second match in a row, Minnesota conceded a goal in the first five minutes. De Jong played a pinpoint-lobbed through ball to Yordy Reyna. The Peruvian split Kallman and Jome on his way to his fourth goal of the season.

Minnesota grew into the game, seeing more of the ball near the Vancouver box, with Thiesson, Jome, and Danladi sending crosses in. Nicholson tried his luck from distance and saw his shot easily cradled by David Ousted.

In the 20th minute, Vancouver had a chance to double the lead off of a corner. Kendall Waston got a head to the ball but Nicholson cleared the ball off the line. The next corner was cleared easily.

A low cross by Jome was cleared easily by Vancouver. The Whitecaps proceeded to cut up the Minnesota defense on the counter. Brek Shea received the ball on the left wing and sent a peach of a cross into the box. Erik Hurtado beat Kallman to the ball by a step and chested the ball into the back of the net. Kallman and Shuttleworth collided on the play and play was stopped as Shuttleworth was checked out by the trainers for a head injury. He would continue.

Michael Boxall got the match’s first card near the end of the first half after he elbowed Reyna in the face will corralling a loose ball. After three minutes of stoppage time both teams would head to their respective locker rooms

The first half was one to forget for the Loons, they conceded another early goal and their defense was cut up with the precision of a surgeon on the counter attack. Their best chance of the game was when Ibson sent a beauty of a ball over the defense and to a wide open Ethan Finlay, instead of shooting or finding a wide open (and onside) Abu Danladi. Finlay centered the ball to no one. Minnesota had a mountain to climb in the second half, but when they met in June in Minnesota, they were also 2-0 at the half to Vancouver and ended up drawing the match 2-2 after goals from Calvo and Thiesson.

Second half

No substitutions were made for either team coming out of the locker room. Minnesota would kick off to start the second half.

The second half started a little chippy from both sides. Some hard fouls from both teams and Collen Warner earned the match’s second yellow card.

A quick throw-in by Vancouver led to a flurry of chances for the Whitecaps. The first effort was saved by Shuttleworth. The second was blocked by Venegas. The third was blocked by Warner and cleared by Boxall.

In the 60th minute, Minnesota was forced to use a sub as Kallman had to come off injured. Joe Greenspan would replace him and Ibson would take the captain’s armband. At the same time, Vancouver made their first sub, the goalscorer Reyna came off for Bernie Ibini. Five minutes later Johan Venegas would go down injured after a hard tackle, he would continue.

On a long lofted through-ball by Vancouver, Greenspan handled the ball just outside the box after losing out to Hurtado. Shea sent the free kick straight into the wall. Hurtado’s followup sailed over the bar.

Later some great saves from Shuttleworth kept the lead at two. At the 70th minute, both teams made changes. Christian Ramirez returned to the pitch after a lengthy injury spell, he came in for Sam Nicholson. Vancouver’s other goalscorer Hurtado made way for Fredy Montero. In the 78th minute, Vancouver would make their third and final substitution with Nicolás Mezquida coming in for Alphonso Davies.

In the 88th minute, Montero would draw Greenspan out to the wing. Jome was late replacing Greenspan’s central position. Montero sent in a lofted cross to Shea who was nestled in between Boxall and Jome. Shea headed into the far post, sealing the win.

Minnesota had a mountain to climb after Reyna’s early goal. Instead of rising to the challenge, the Loons fell flat, playing uninspiring soccer for 90 minutes.

Scoring summary

VAN – 5′ Yordy Reyna (4) (Assist: De Jong)

VAN – 31′ Erik Hurtado (2) (Assist: Shea)

VAN – 88′ Brek Shea (4) (Assist: Montero)


MIN – 44′ Boxall (Unsporting Behavior)

MIN – 52′ Warner (Unsporting Behavior)

Match ratings


Three stars


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  • Matt

    Tepid, torpid and lame. J. Venegas passing the ball in the direction of absolutely no one in particular pretty much sums up the Loons in this match.

  • Scherbs

    Riddle me this. How does Demidov never even so much as make the bench, but J. Venegas somehow gets a start? I had such high hopes for him at the beginning of the year, but really he should not see the pitch again for MNUFC.

  • Pete Bissen

    I made the mistake of having hope after halftime so I kept watching. Luckily, the MLS live stream dropped around the 80th minute and I couldn’t get myself to try to fix it. It was an embarassing, toothless attempt at “soccer” and there should be some accountability being taken for this showing. You can’t expect to put in a MN United version of a second-rate team out against VWFC and expect anything less than this. As an organizaion, MNUFC should be ashamed. I’m still going to follow and support in my own ways, but MNUFC is making it really hard to have hope.

  • Almontanello

    In every human activity, if somebody makes too many mistakes, he has to be changed.

    Lagos and Heath started with the awkward trip to Scandinavia
    with the acquisition of mediocre North European players.
    After that mistake they produced a long chain of other mistakes.

    Next season must start with new faces.

    • Troy Kadlec

      Heath had nothing to do with the scouting trip to Scandinavia. He was here when they hit Central and South America. I count Calvo a win for the club.

  • Michael Clark

    That was a very hard game to watch. There were sequences at the end of the game where there was possession and lively passing, but I think only because Vancouver was happy to let it the Loons dance around the midfield and look pretty. No teeth on the attack and no grit on defense.

    I do feel, however, that when Ramirez was the pitch those waning minutes – he was positioning himself smartly and would have given us far more chances to score had he started. I am confident Ethan will find Ramirez. I really miss the Cronin-Ibson tandem. They balance each other well and Ibson has no equivalent partner as backup.

    • nomadic loon

      It was also a very hard game to listen to. With no opportunity for a Loons fancy goal call, Callum is a lousy announcer.

  • Troy Kadlec

    I’m not surprised at the result even though I’m a little disappointed. Vancouver is good, top of the West good. I thought the boys fought fairly well in the first half and still showed snap into the 60th minute or so. The most concerning to me is that we don’t know how to attack. The whole plan seems to be having Finlay and Nicholson penetrate the wings and loop in crosses. Danladi is not physical enough to win those matchups. Our transition is so slow that the defense has a chance to catch us when we “counter”. Danladi struggles to find any space or get separation from the physical backs. Ibson and Warner are absent in the attack and if you pull Jome or Thession too far up, we get burned on the counter.
    It was a midweek away game missing a few key pieces and on short rest against a top team. Meh. If they get beat by Montreal the same way, then yeah, there’s a serous problem.
    We need to use both Ramirez and Danladi at the same time. Switch to a 3-5-2 with a dedicated D-mid and unleash the attck up top. Teams can cover one of those guys, but no way they can handle both of them at the same time.