Wrapping up last week’s West Coast road games, Minnesota traveled to Sandy, Utah, where they faced the Vancouver Whitecaps in their final game at Rio Tinto Stadium before playing the remainder of their home games back at BC Place.
In the 36th minute, Vancouver’s Cristian Dájome sneaked past defender Bakaye Dibassy, made a 20-yard run, and slotted a left-footed strike past the outstretched arms of Tyler Miller to give the home side a 1-0 lead. But the Loons have shown recently that they love a good comeback and did just that in the 45th minute as Emanuel Reynoso found Ethan Finlay splitting the defenders and played him through for a strike that drew the visitors level. As the 75th minute rolled around, midfielder Wil Trapp intercepted the ball and fed Robin Lod, who cut inside the box and slotted the ball to the back of the net, giving the Loons the 2-1 lead. Unfortunately, in the 93rd minute, Minnesota conceded a controversial penalty kick in favor of Vancouver, in which Dájome notched the goal to tie the match, 2-2.
“Coming here, I knew this was going to be tough because of the workload the guys had done in the week,” said Head Coach Adrian Heath. “[Vancouver] haven’t lost in six so they’re on a little bit of a turnaround themselves. I thought second half, we were very, very good. Disappointed we haven’t got the three points because last kick of the game, wasn’t it? But in general, I thought the second half performance was good.”
After traveling for a week, the Loons made their way home. Although there was disappointment with how the game against Vancouver ended, Minnesota is taking the positive from their West Coast matches and looking ahead towards their next match.
“We feel good. We can take a lot of positives away from the last week,” said defender Brent Kallman. “We’re all disappointed with how the [Vancouver] game ended, there’s a lot of controversy with the call and everything like that but, if we look at the second half of that game, there is a lot to be proud of. In the first half against Vancouver, I think we looked tired, you could see it. We were sluggish, guys looked like they couldn’t really sprint and in the second half, at altitude usually teams start to fade when they travel but, we won all the second balls, we owned them that second half. We did, we really did. We were winning all the second balls and all the duels so that’s something the guys can be really proud of heading into this week.”
Facing Houston Dynamo this weekend isn’t going to be easy and the Loons know it. However, with a homefield advantage, Minnesota hopes the fans and the stadium atmosphere can push them to get three points at home.
“It’s super important,” said midfielder Ethan Finlay. “Obviously anytime teams are going to have more minutes in their legs than us you look at it as an advantage but you still have to go out there and take care of business. Houston is a tough team. Always very good on the break, traditionally so. We’ll have to be aware of that but I expect us to come out and control the game from the get-go and behind 19,000-plus fans, that should be pretty easy.”