Minnesota United’s three-game unbeaten stretch against some of the best clubs in MLS set up a sticky situation against Vancouver on Saturday.
The Whitecaps, near the basement of the Western Conference, have been forced by Canada’s response to the coronavirus to play “home” games at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, with no fans to motivate anyone. In addition, Minnesota played midweek, while Vancouver was rested.
All the telltale signs for a classic letdown.
United did not slip, using another second half goal from Robin Laud to take a 2–1 lead in second half stoppage time. But Christian Djom was given a suspicious penalty kick, and he leveled at 2-2.
Minnesota (6-5-5) finished sixth in the West, while Vancouver (3-7-6) finished 12th.
Lod has scored five goals this season after 75th-minute matches. It looked like PK was going to be a fourth game-winner before the call, where it appeared that Deejoom initiated contact on Ethan Finlay.
Finlay stayed down after the contact in disbelief. Manager Adrian Heath nods his head after PK.
The Loons’ back line was pulled in the 36th minute, with Brent Kalman coming to challenge. Meanwhile, attacker Christian Djom timed his run perfectly to be on the edge; He received the ball from Russell Teibert, overtook Bucky DiBassie and overtook goalkeeper Tyler Miller to lead 1–0.
United used their cleverly timed move as Ethan Finlay patiently awaited Emanuel Reynoso’s brilliant through ball in the 45th minute. Finlay found an opening and overtook Thomas Hansel for his first goal of the season.
Heath was forced to make a change in the starting XI, with Chase Gaspar suffering a hip injury in a 2–2 draw, with LAFC and DJ Taylor replacing him on Wednesday and Saturday.
Heath did not make any changes of his own accord and stuck with a 4-3-3 formation. The club’s goal was for captain centre-back Michael Boxall to return in the last two road games, but he was not on the gameday roster.
The Loons beat Vancouver 1–0 on 12 May, a win that began the club’s return to four defeats and started the season with one loss in the next 12 games (6–1–5).