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Pre Match: Vancouver Whitecaps vs Minnesota United

Loony Tunes

MLS: Minnesota United FC at Vancouver Whitecaps FC Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

I think it’s personally time for me to admit that the Vancouver Whitecaps are on a hot streak. While play at times may be uninspiring, it is certainly getting the job done, especially with the talented new acquisitions making an immediate impact. Dare I say it, the Whitecaps are a team on good form now. (Watch this be the reason the midseason collapse happens.) There is resilience in the players to go out and get wins, especially when it comes to home games, and BC Place has resembled a fortress for any team unluckly enough to get swept away by the waves of False Creek.

Even though they are getting hit with attacking blows (Injury to Caicedo comes to mind) the Whitecaps continue to get goals in whatever way possible, and if that’s not possible, the defense locks down the box. It also helps quite a bit that Cody Cropper is a half decent goalkeeper. This run of form resembles that of the latter end of the 2021 season which saw Sartini keep his job full time. If this is the way the Whitecaps are going to define themselves going forwards, than that’s not a bad identity to have.

It’s MLS rivalry week, and unfortunately the Whitecaps have been fifth wheeling two of the biggest rivalries of the league in Seattle-Portland and Toronto-Montreal. As such the Whitecaps have always have been lumped in with the other straggler teams either third wheeling or not having a rivalry. This year the enemy of choice is former USL team Minnesota United FC. A solid team who has semi-recently made the playoffs will be looking to knock Vancouver off of their winning run.

It’s a good matchup, given that Minnesota has the exact same competitive record as the ‘Caps, albeit with a better goal difference for the American side. This can be attributed to a bulk of their goals coming from Bebelo Reynoso (7), Robin Lod (6), and Luis Amarilla (4). The Whitecaps on the other hand, only have one player that’s scored more than two goals, that being Lucas Cavallini (5). For Minnesota, the task is clear, take care of Lucas Cavallini and the Whitecaps have a low chance of scoring. Michael Boxall (Who will be familiar to ‘Caps fans) is a rock in the back line alongside Dibassy, and they are protecting a very capable Dayne St. Clair, who a few seasons back looked to be shooting up the ranks to become Canada’s second best MLS keeper. Will Trapp will also not make it easy for the Whitecaps to get the ball forward, but luckily, the ‘Caps now have an ace in the midfield in the form of Cubas.

Cubas will have his hands full with Reynoso, but if they shut him down, the creation potential of the team goes down. Bongokuhle Hlongwane is their second highest assist leader, but he is very young so putting him in frustrating situations could help nullify his threat.

The Whitecaps will need to attack on the wings and force the opponent’s play to go the same way, as the less time in the middle of the field the better. I see the Whitecaps using the home field to their advantage and taking a 2-1 Victory against their “rivals” Minnesota United.