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Preview: Vancouver Whitecaps v Minnesota United

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The Loons return to two long months of matches on the road. Their first stop: Vancouver.

68th FIFA Congress Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Minnesota United FC versus Vancouver Whitecaps FC

  • When? Saturday, July 28th, 2018
  • Where? BC Place, Vancouver
  • Broadcast? Fox Sports North

After a long homestead where the Loons acquired 12 points out of their last five matches, they now travel to the Pacific Northwest to take on a struggling Vancouver side. The Whitecaps are 2-5 in all competitions in their last seven, and to make things worse, right-back Efrain Juarez will be suspended after receiving a red card against the Seattle Sounders on the 21st. Most recently, the Whitecaps qualified for the Championship match of the Canadian Championship by knocking off the Montreal Impact, 2-1, on aggregate this past Wednesday night. Kei Kamara and Yordy Reyna were the two heroes for the Whitecaps, sending their side on to the final to take on Toronto FC. Minnesota on the other hand, is coming off of a match where they surprised the world and shocked LAFC, by a scoreline of 5-1. The showcase saw five MNUFC players land on the team of the week along with HC Adrian Heath. In case you want to re-watch that absolute baller of a match, here are the highlights:

Minnesota, led by their flourishing DP Quintero, look to make it a four-match win streak and a continue their electric surge toward a playoff push. Vancouver on the other hand, are not far off from Minnesota in the hunt for a playoff spot, but it remains to be seen whether or not their side can keep their composure on and off the field. The Whitecaps lead the league, with seven red card offenses and thirty-four yellow cards. The consistent infringement of these offenses has to have taken a toll on the squad, especially considering that keeping the same starting XI when possible has proven to be tactically greater in this league.

Speaking of a starting XI... there is one name in particular that loons fans will be looking for come Saturday night: Alphonso Davies. Davies, 17, was in the news this week due to his league-record transfer to Bundgesliga giants, Bayern Munich. The German powerhouses were impressed enough with the 17 year old’s capability, that they shelled out 13 million, with the fee having a possibility of becoming 22 million with add-ons and clauses. Davies however, was loaned back to Vancouver for the rest of the 2018 season where he will try to help ressurect his sides playoff hopes as they fall more and more behind that last playoff spot. Vancouver has still not announced whether or not he will be available for selection this weekend as well. Lastly, here is what the kid brings to the table:

Alphonso Davies will be major talking point heading into Saturday night’s match, for Vancouver and Minnesota supporters both alike. A transfer that big means so much for this league, and it only adds a building block to the tower that Major League Soccer is building. I spoke to Caleb Wilkins of EightySixForever, the SB Nation blog surrounding the Vancouver Whitecaps, about Davies and Vancouver soccer as a whole.

Q: How does it feel knocking off Montreal in the Voyageurs Cup semi-final, to pave way to a championship match with Toronto FC?

It feels good! The mood amongst Whitecaps supporters has possibly sunk to an all time low this season. Winning the Voyageurs Cup is probably the teams last chance to generate some good feeling this year.

Q: Vancouver announced earlier this week that they transferred young starlet, Alphonso Davies, to Bayern Munchen for 13 million dollars. That sale was a league record, but what does it mean to you? What does it mean to your team?

There can be many lessons taken from Davies rise to stardom. The value of hard work, the value of welcoming immigrants to Canada, the value of giving talented youngsters the chance to prove themselves in the first team and the fact that there is talent to be found in Canada if nurtured and identified properly. The question though, is, will anybody learn from those lessons? I am skeptical. For the club, it’s a chance to make big changes. It will also add some prestige to the prospects they develop and the possibility of more large fees in the future. unfortunately, I am not sure how much that will help. Aside from Davies, who is too talented to ignore, the Whitecaps have been very reticent to take chances on young players.

Q: Going into tomorrow’ss match, United are riding a three match win streak and have won four out of their last five. Your club has been on the opposite side of results lately, going 2-5 in your last seven matches in all competitions. What do the Whitecaps/Carl Robinson need to do to change the course your team is on?

All of the players need to play to the level they are capable of. The Whitecaps have a rotating cast of players who hit little patches of form and then aren’t heard from for a month or two. At various points in the season both Brek Shea and Christian Techera have been leading the team in scoring and neither is a starter due to their inconsistency.

Q: What’s your predicted lineup for tomorrow night, with Juarez being out and having recently played a 90 minute thriller on Wednesday against Montreal?

(4-4-2) : Marinovic, Franklin, Watson, Aja, De Jong; Techera, Ghazal, Felipe, Davies, Reyna and Kamara.

It’s been a little while, but it’s a Loons matchday on the road. Huge thanks to Eighty Six Forever for answering our questions, and COYL!

Got predictions for today’s match? Drop ‘em in the comments section below.