Vancouver, B.C. – After a brief one-day reprieve in Chicago last month, Minnesota United FC’s struggles on the road picked back up again Wednesday.
It started with a goal conceded in the fifth minute and turned progressively worse from there for the visitors, as Minnesota dropped to 1-9-2 away from the friendlier confines of TCF Bank Stadium with a 3-0 loss to the surging Whitecaps at BC Place Stadium.
The defeat keeps Minnesota in 10th place in the Western Conference, 11 points out of the final playoff spot with seven games remaining in its inaugural Major League Soccer season.
Playing the second of three games in a stretch of seven days, the Loons were victimized twice in the first half by the speedy Vancouver forwards.
Yordy Reyna opened the scoring just five minutes into the match, as he broke free in behind defenders Brent Kallman and Ismaila Jome.
While remaining onside, took a perfectly placed long ball from Marcel de Jong and calmly placed his shot behind goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth.
All Shuttleworth could do was throw his arms in the air in frustration as Reyna ran toward a corner in celebration.
“First [goal], we … must’ve showed 20 clips of the ball in behind with this pace they’ve got up front,” said Loons coach Adrian Heath. “We don’t heed that lesson and then it’s in the back of the net.
“Between both boxes, we probably had as much possession but the harsh realities is both boxes is where it matters — the attacking one and the defending one — and we were second-best in both of them.”
Minnesota had its chances to get back into the game in the first half. Consecutive corner kicks presented a mild danger in front of Vancouver keeper David Ousted, but both attempts were unsuccessful.
Shortly after, the Whitecaps struck again. This time, it was forward Erik Hurtado who was able to find room on a run through the Loons’ back line and deflect a Brek Shea cross into the box for Vancouver’s second goal.
On Hurtado goal, Shuttleworth took an inadvertent knee to the head from Kallman. Shuttleworth remained down on the pitch for several minutes but did ultimately stay in the game.
Down 2-0, the Loons were unable to mount a second-half comeback while the Whitecaps got a late third goal; the Loons only had two shots on goal the entire game.
Meanwhile, Shuttleworth remained busy. He made a number of saves in the second half to keep his team’s slim chances of a comeback alive.
After getting the franchise’s first MLS road victory on Aug. 26, Minnesota took a step back in Vancouver.
“Yeah, there [were] positive feelings around the team going into tonight,” said Kallman.
“Just wasn’t good enough … on both ends, it wasn’t good enough.”