Minnesota United FC vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC
2017 MLS Match Preview
TCF Bank Stadium – Minneapolis, Minn.
Saturday, June 24 – 8 pm ET
WATCH: TSN in Canada | MLS LIVE in US
On Wednesday night Minnesota United FC won their fifth game of the season, defeating the Portland Timbers 3-2 to move within three points of the sixth playoff spot. Minnesota's second goal of the game was scored by Christian Ramirez, who has nine goals on the season for the Loons. That total is the most by an American in MLS this season.
With that said, it's surprising the 26-year-old was left off Bruce Arena's 40-man preliminary Gold Cup roster. Some forwards that were included: Juan Agudelo, Dom Dwyer, CJ Sapong and Chris Wondolowski. While all of those players have had quality seasons for their clubs, none have been as productive as Ramirez. The California native will look to try and continue to prove Arena wrong on Saturday in a crucial Western Conference matchup against Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
Minnesota United FC
Ramirez has been this productive despite the relative inconsistency of the two main playmakers behind him: Miguel Ibarra and Kevin Molino. The two have combined for just six goals and six assists in over 2,103 minutes. They have also not been consistent chance creators, with neither averaging more than 1.51 chances created per 90 minutes so far. Those averages put them outside the top 45 in MLS.
After being shown a red card against the Timbers, Abu Danladi will miss the match on Saturday. Head coach Adrian Heath will be hoping to turn to Costa Rican international Johan Venegas in his stead but Venegas is nursing a back injury. If Venegas is unable to go, we could see Bashkim Kadrii get his first start since April 8.
- Suspended: F Abu Danladi (red card)
- Int’l Duty: None
- Injury Report: OUT – M Bernardo Anor (left lower leg injury), M/D Thomas de Villardi (left Achilles injury), D Joseph Greenspan (concussion), D Marc Burch (sports hernia surgery); QUESTIONABLE – M Johan Venegas (back injury)
Projected Starting XI (4-2-3-1): GK: Bobby Shuttleworth – Kevin Venegas, Brent Kallman, Francisco Calvo, Jerome Thiesson – Sam Cronin, Ibson – Bashkim Kadrii, Kevin Molino, Miguel Ibarra – Christian Ramirez
Notes: Minnesota has faced 5.8 shots on target per game so far this season, the second most of any team in the league.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
The team that Minnesota is chasing for the sixth playoff spot at the moment is Vancouver. The Whitecaps are coming off of a 1-1 draw at BC Place to FC Dallas, which concluded their four-game homestand that they finished 2-1-1. Prior to that, they were on a four-game road trip that included wins at Montreal and Colorado.
Head coach Carl Robinson didn't have Costa Rican internationals Christian Bolaños and Kendall Waston available for selection against Dallas due to injury and it is unlikely that they will return on Saturday. With the Whitecaps constantly shuttling players on and off the injury list this season, their 6-6-2 start is quite an accomplishment.
- Suspended: None
- Int’l Duty: None
- Injury Report: OUT – Brett Levis (ACL tear), M Yordy Reyna (foot surgery), D David Edgar (PCL, MCL tear), D Christian Dean (foot injury), M Nicolas Mezquida (right high ankle sprain), D Kendall Waston (left hip injury), M Christian Bolaños (right shoulder sprain)
Projected Starting XI (4-1-4-1): GK: David Ousted — Jake Nerwinski, Andrew Jacobson, Tim Parker, Jordan Harvey — Matias Laba — Cristian Techera, Tony Tchani, Alphonso Davies, Brek Shea — Fredy Montero
Notes: In 569 minutes with Alphonso Davies on the field, Vancouver averages 1.6 goals per 90 minutes played. In 759 minutes without him this season, that number falls down to 1.1 goals per 90.
This is the first meeting between the two teams.
Referee: Jose Carlos Rivero
Assistant Referees: Jason White, Jose Da Silva
Fourth Official: Baboucarr Jallow