Whitecaps FC-Minnesota United Preview
Adrian Heath has acknowledged that he has to get it right on Wednesday when his pointless Minnesota United side face Vancouver Whitecaps at Allianz Field.
The Loons squandered a two-goal half-time lead to lose 3-2 against Colorado Rapids at the weekend, making it four defeats in a row to begin their 2021 MLS campaign.
Minnesota are the only side in the division without a point and the pressure is growing on Heath, who has spent the past four-and-a-half years in charge of the club.
Midweek opponents Vancouver have a more respectable seven points from their first four games, but Heath is targeting a victory against the Caps to kickstart his side's season.
"It's a huge game for us on Wednesday," he said. "If we're not aware of it, we should be.
"We're at the stage now where we've got to start winning some games and getting some points on the board.
"I thought we were outstanding in the first half against Colorado. Then all the things we were good at in the first half, we weren't in the second.
"Our ball retention was really poor. Our decision-making was poor. And our general defending of the penalty area was poor as well."
Vancouver beat CF Montreal 2-0 last time out thanks to a couple of second-half goals from Cristian Dajome following a sluggish display in the first half.
That followed a familiar theme, with the Canadian club yet to score in the opening 45 minutes of any game this season, but coach Marc Dos Santos is unfazed by that statistic.
"I think we do a good job reading what happens in the first half and trying to address that," he said. "But the important thing is we deserve the three points.
"We were the team that deserved it against Montreal. It wasn't a perfect first half, but the second half was a good reaction, a good attitude and we deserved the three points."
Minnesota United - Ethan Finlay
The Loons have failed to score in half of their matches this season and Heath is clearly struggling to find a system to get the most out of his players.
Finlay has operated on the right and left wings this term without making the desired impact and, after being benched against Colorado, he will be raring to go on Wednesday should he get the nod.
Vancouver Whitecaps - Cristian Dajome
Dajome's brace against Montreal was his first of a career spanning almost a decade and takes his tally for the season to three in four appearances.
That equals the Colombian forward's goalscoring haul from 23 matches last season, while he is eight goals shy of the 11 scored for Bogota in his most prolific campaign in 2014.
- Both Minnesota and Vancouver have two wins and two draws over the first six meetings between the clubs in MLS.
- The Loons are unbeaten at home against Vancouver (W1 D2), keeping clean sheets in the last two meetings in Minnesota.
- United have lost four straight matches to start a season for the first time in club history. Expansion side Inter Miami last season is the only team since 2013 to lose their first five matches of a season.
- Vancouver have lost eight of their last 10 matches away from home (W1 D1), though they did come away with a 1-1 draw against Toronto FC in Orlando last time out on their travels. The Whitecaps have failed to score in seven of those 10 matches.
- Entering the Western Conference Final last year, Minnesota had a record of W27 D2 L0 when taking a two-goal lead in their MLS history, but they have now lost their last two matches when leading by two goals, falling 3-2 to Seattle Sounders in last season's Western Conference Final and losing 3-2 to Colorado Rapids on Saturday.
Updated May 11, 2021