MINNEAPOLIS, MN: Cristian Techera scored his fifth goal of the season and Tony Tchani opened his account with Vancouver Whitecaps FC (6W-6L-3D) in an entertaining 2-2 draw with Minnesota United FC on Saturday night at TCF Bank Stadium (5W-9L-3D).
“The Bug” opened the scoring on a 17th-minute penalty and set up Tchani on a free kick at the end of the first half, giving Vancouver a 2-0 lead at the break. But Minnesota found a way to fight back through second-half goals from defenders Francisco Calvo and Jerome Thiesson, forcing the injury-riddled ‘Caps to settle for a second straight draw.
Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson, who was without eight players due to an injury for the second straight match, made a single change to his starting lineup after last weekend’s 1-1 draw with FC Dallas, inserting Alphonso Davies in place of Russell Teibert. He also switched to a 4-4-2 formation with Davies out wide and Brek Shea alongside Fredy Montero up top.
And the changes paid dividends, as Davies and Shea combined to draw an early penalty.
In the build-up, Davies chased down a pair of defenders, forcing an errant back pass that Shea intercepted before getting clipped by goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth. Techera took care of the rest, calmly slotting in the ensuing spot kick to put Vancouver ahead.
This time, after Davies drew a foul on the counter, Techera played the role of distributor, whipping in a free kick that was met by a powerful Tchani header at the top of the six.
The Loons, who were coming off a 3-2 midweek victory over Portland, actually controlled the lion’s share of possession in the first half, forcing Vancouver’s all-American back line of Jake Nerwinski, Andrew Jacobson, Tim Parker and Jordan Harvey into a number of timely clearances. Matias Laba was also busy for Vancouver, recording four tackles in the first half alone.
Minnesota’s best chance of the half came in the 22nd minute when a second-phase ball fell to Kevin Molino at the centre of the box, but the Trinidad & Tobago international missed wide.
The Loons kept coming after the break, though, and got on the board in the 50th minute, when an unmarked Calvo headed in a Molino cross at the back post. Then, in the 63rd minute, Minnesota drew the game level through a 24-yard Thiesson strike that eluded a pair of bodies before finding the bottom left corner.
Thiesson’s equalizer set up a wide open final half hour with both sides coming close to finding a winner. Minnesota grazed the crossbar with a powerful Ibson strike from distance and forced David Ousted into a key save on a late goal-mouth scramble, while Whitecaps FC substitute Bernie Ibini saw a well-taken header denied by a diving Shuttleworth.
It certainly wasn’t for a lack of chances, but a winner wasn’t in the cards on this night.
Next up for Whitecaps FC is a Canada Day tilt with the new-look Chicago Fire, featuring FIFA World Cup and UEFA Champions League winner Bastian Schweinsteiger, next Saturday at Toyota Stadium (4 p.m. PT on TSN 1 and TSN 1410 radio). The ‘Caps will then host David Villa’s New York City FC on Wednesday, July 5 at BC Place before MLS breaks for the group stage of the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Budweiser Man of the Match: Cristian Techera
Referee: Jose Carlos Rivero
Attendance: 19, 016
17′ – VAN – Cristian Techera (penalty kick)
45′ + 2′ – VAN – Tony Tchani (Cristian Techera)
50′ – MIN – Francisco Calvo (Kevin Molino)
63′ – MIN – Jerome Thiesson (Miguel Ibarra)
Possession: Minnesota 73.2% – Vancouver 26.8%
Shots: Minnesota 17 – Vancouver 11
Shots on Goal: Minnesota 7 – Vancouver 5
Saves: Minnesota 3 – Vancouver 5
Fouls: Minnesota 9 – Vancouver 12
Offsides: Minnesota 0 – Vancouver 1
Corners: Minnesota 9 – Vancouver 6
16 – MIN – Bobby Shuttleworth
26 – VAN – Tony Tchani
45′ + 1′ – MIN – Brent Kallman
54′ – MIN – Jerome Thiesson
59′ – MIN – Ibson
65′ – MIN – Cristian Techera
Minnesota United FC
33.Bobby Shuttleworth; 22.Kevin Venegas, 14.Brent Kallman (4.Jermaine Taylor 47′), 5.Francisco Calvo ©, 3.Jerome Thiesson; 19.Sam Cronin, 7.Ibson; 18.Kevin Molino, 11.Johan Venegas (16.Bashkim Kadrii 85′), 10.Miguel Ibarra; 21.Christian Ramirez
Substitutes not used
24.Patrick McLain, 2.Justin Davis, 17.Collin Martin, 20.Rasmus Schuller, 26.Collen Warner
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1.David Ousted ©; 28.Jake Nerwinski (17.Marcel de Jong 90′), 8.Andrew Jacobson, 26.Tim Parker, 2.Jordan Harvey; 13.Cristian Techera (77.Mauro Rosales 90′), 15.Matías Laba, 16.Tony Tchani, 67.Alphonso Davies; 12.Fredy Montero (23.Bernie Ibini 73′), 20.Brek Shea
Substitutes not used
70.Paolo Tornaghi, 14.Cole Seiler, 31.Russell Teibert, 32.Marco Bustos