Whitecaps dominate early, defeat Minnesota United

Brian White, Mathias Laborda and Sebastian Berhalter scored goals, and Ryan Gauld amassed three assists as Vancouver Whitecaps FC dominated the first 20 minutes and posted a 3-1 win over struggling Minnesota United on Wednesday in a Western Conference match in Saint Paul, Minn.

The Whitecaps (9-7-4, 31 points) won their second straight and fourth in their past six matches in improving to fourth in the West standings. Minnesota (8-8-5, 29 points) has dropped five straight and been outscored 14-6 along the way.

White found the net in the fourth minute. Gauld intercepted a pass that Minnesota defender Michael Boxall intended for goalkeeper Alec Smir, and got the ball to White for the easy tally.

It was White’s fourth goal in the past two games after he went 11 matches across all competitions without scoring.

The Whitecaps added to their lead 13 minutes later as Laborda waited at the back post for a crossing pass from Gauld, which followed a short corner from Berhalter. Both Gauld and Berhalter earned assists.

The Loons attempted to halve their deficit in the 30th minute when White conceded a penalty kick after being booked with a yellow card for poor sportsmanship. Joseph Rosales’ try from the spot was stopped by Vancouver keeper Yohei Takaoka with a diving save, thwarting any momentum for Minnesota.

But the Loons continued to press, finding the net off a corner after the missed penalty kick when Bongokuhle Hlongwane beat Takoka with a right-footed shot from the center of the box.

Vancouver built the lead back to two goals as Berhalter beat Smir with a right-footer laser from outside the box in the 60th minute, with Gauld and Alessandro Schopf credited with the assists.

Hlongwane had a chance to pare the lead again in the 72nd minute, but he was stopped by Takaoka.

–Field Level Media