MINNEAPOLIS – One could say that Minnesota United’s 2-2 draw against Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday night in TCF Bank Stadium displayed signs of growth. It was, after all, the first time the expansion side had strung together consecutive positive results since April. Loons coach Adrian Heath and his men, however, were none too happy about the result.
“We lost two points today,” said an animated Heath, after the match. “If you want to play a nice game of football, that’s great. I can play a nice game of football. What I can’t do is run fast and make the defense uncomfortable. In the second half, we did that. When we do, we’re good. When we don’t, we’re bang average.”
Minnesota won the possession battle for every five-minute interval of the match and yet the hosts conceded two goals in the first half, the first on a penalty kick after a hard challenge by goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth, and the second off a set piece, where Tony Tchani was left unmarked and found an easy finish. With a two-goal lead on the road, Minnesota knew Vancouver would be tough to crack.
“We played with a little more energy and forward-thinking,” Loons midfielder Sam Cronin said of the team’s second half. “We popped it around nice enough in the first half, but we weren’t threatening their goal enough. With them having a two-goal lead, we know that they would be sitting more. The onus was on us to make something out of the game, and we did, which is great. To play the way we did and only walk out with a point is disappointing.”
Minnesota’s comeback started with a Francisco Calvo header. The Costa Rican international was happy to open his MLS account, but his sentiments matched those of his manager.
“We can’t feel like we’re a new team,” said the captain, looking defeated. “We can beat any team in this league, I think. I’m disappointed because I know (Vancouver) are happy with one point. We gave away two points that we’re going to need at the end of the day.”
This continues a trend over the season of Minnesota conceding early goals. The Loons have allowed their opponent to score first in 13 of their 17 matches thus far.
“Get out from the start from the whistle and try to get three points,” Calvo suggested, when asked how to change the team’s luck in the early goings. “We don’t have to wait for them to score two goals to wake up. It’s the smallest details that make a difference. We need to work on that.”
While the Loons walk out of the week with four points from games against Western Conference foes Portland and Vancouver, the club appears ready for the Secondary Transfer Window to open.
“We can’t wait until halftime and have me lose my voice to get the reaction that we had,” Heath warned. “If we do, it’s not going to be enough. We’ll have to change things. We’re down to bare bones at this time. We need to bring some reinforcements in.”