Match Preview | Whitecaps FC 2 v MNUFC2

Zaydan Bello goal celebration

Vancouver Whitecaps 2 v MNUFC2

Swangard Stadium | Burnaby, British Columbia

04.23.2023 | MLS NEXT Pro Game No. 5

9:00 p.m. CT | Streaming on

Another week, another road game. MNUFC2 are taking their talents to Burnaby this weekend to take on Whitecaps FC 2 in what will be their fifth consecutive away match. Both squads suffered their first losses of the season last weekend, turning this fixture into a great chance to bounce back.

The first loss of the Loons’ season came at the hands of North Texas SC, with Blaine, Minnesota native Herbert Endeley scoring the game-winner. The 2-1 margin was tight, as was the play on the field. Following the narrow defeat, Head Coach Cameron Knowles stressed the importance of taking lessons from the game.

“First thing is to reflect on the performance,” he said. “Obviously the guys are disappointed with the result, but we’ve got to reflect on the performance because there’s some good stuff in that game, some that isn’t good enough, and we’ll have to be honest with ourselves on both sides of that. We have a good week to prepare for what’s going to be a good game. There were a lot of goals scored in Vancouver’s last game, and we’re going to go up there with the right mentality to keep picking up points on the road to start the season.”

Much like his coach, MNUFC2 midfielder Rory O’Driscoll saw a bit of everything in Sunday’s performance.

“There’s definitely a lot to take out of it and a lot to grow from,” he said. “That was a game where they played pretty direct, and we’re going to have to handle that a bit better, I think. We need to find ourselves in the match a bit sooner, try to move the ball and stay calm. When we put our foot on the ball and move it, we can gather ourselves and play our game instead of being forced to play a game that we don’t want to play. They’re [North Texas] a good team; credit to them, but we feel like we could’ve gotten a better result. The mentality doesn’t change too much, but we need to bounce back from the loss. We had our streak, we lost, and we want to break that streak now and get back to winning ways.”

In last season’s matchups against Whitecaps 2, the Loons won 2-0 on home turf and earned a shootout win north of the border after a 2-2 draw. While that brief history could be a sign of good things to come, it’s difficult to compare MLS NEXT Pro teams from last year to this year, as many used the offseason to make significant changes.

“The team looks different from last year,” Knowles said about Vancouver. “I think they’ve improved their team significantly, and they look like a real handful. Like a lot of the games we’ve come into, you can lose sight of how good these teams are if you just look at their last result. We have to go up there and be prepared for a very tough game.”

Vancouver’s impressive start to the 2023 season is thanks in large part to Whitecaps first-team player Kamron Habibullah. The Canadian youth international has scored three goals in 272 minutes of MLS NEXT Pro action, working out to a goal nearly every 90 minutes.

The Caps have scored 10 goals in just four games, demonstrating admirable attacking prowess. However, they’ve conceded seven times in the same time frame, proving that while they may have a sharp edge, their shield is rather weak.

Though this weekend’s test will present new challenges for the Twos, Coach Knowles believes that their road experience has been a blessing in disguise.

“We’re fortunate, in some ways, that we continue to play on the road because the preparation is very similar,” he said. “We know what travel is like, we know we’re away for the weekend, and we know the opposition is going to come out and play, trying to carry the game a little bit. We’ve seen that a couple times, which helps a little bit, but every market is different. The Pacific Northwest is a little unpredictable this time of year.”

Sunday’s match is scheduled to kick off at 9 p.m. CT, with the stream available exclusively on This will be the penultimate match in the team’s six-game road stretch, with the home opener coming to the National Sports Center on May 7.