Loons let Vancouver score late stoppage time goal in a 1-1 draw

Minnesota has now dropped four points from leading positions in two games at home this season

Vancouver Whitecaps defender Tristan Blackmon (left) tries to defend against Minnesota United FC forward Mender Garcia during the first half of a March 25, 2023, game in St. Paul.
Vancouver Whitecaps defender Tristan Blackmon (left) tries to defend against Minnesota United FC forward Mender Garcia during the first half of a March 25, 2023, game in St. Paul.
Matt Blewett / USA Today Sports

ST. PAUL — A headline in the Vancouver Sun this week didn’t think too highly of Minnesota United’s roster.

With the Loons having seven players away for national team duties, along with the continued absence of Emanuel Reynoso, the newspaper leaned into the sensational, saying MNUFC was “missing just about everybody.”

Well, MNUFC showed the group they still had can be somebody.

Striker Mender Garcia’s first-half goal looked like it would be enough, but Vancouver equalized in the last seconds of stoppage time for a 1-1 draw on Saturday at Allianz Field.

Loons manager Adrian Heath and staff had raised their arms thinking the match was over, but the six minutes of stoppage time weren’t done. Mikael Marques’s failed juggle in midfield led to Vancouver’s final counter attack, with Simon Becher scoring the winner.


Minnesota has now dropped four points from leading positions in two games at home this season.

Minnesota (2-0-2, 8 points) showed the depth of the roster, with players such as defender Brent Kallman and goalkeeper Clint Irwin, who stepped up with four saves.

Vancouver (0-2-3, 3 points) had two international absences and injured striker Sergio Cordova, but had more scoring chances in the second half. A goal was nullified for offside on Tristan Blackmon in the final 10 minutes.

Garcia rebounded after being subbed out at halftime of the 2-1 win over Colorado Rapids last weekend. The Colombian Designated Player scored his second goal of the season on a well-directed header in the 41st minute.

Amarilla has not scored an open-play goal in 652 minutes for United this season. The Paraguyan’s two goals both came on penalty kicks.
Houston will face Austin FC or Chicago Fire in the quarterfinals June 6-7. Those two MLS sides will play their round of 16 match at 8 p.m. Wednesday.
Up first, the Loons (1-0-1) play Colorado Rapids (0-2-1) on Saturday night.
The Loons finish the season with a 13-31-2-1 record
The Loons are scheduled to wrap up the season by playing at Willmar Friday, March 3; hosting Granite City Saturday, March 4; and returning to Willmar Sunday, March 5.
Jack Hanson sparked the rally with two goals. The Loons host Willmar Friday, Feb. 27, at Breezy Point Hockey Center.
The win ends a nine-game skid. Loons scheduled to host Willmar WarHawks at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17
All proceeds from Saturday, Feb. 4, game against Alexandria Blizzards at Breezy Point Sports Center will benefit CRMC's Courage Cabinet
Minnesota Loons scheduled to host the Blizzard at 7:10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, at Breezy Point Sports Center
The Loons are scheduled to host Alexandria Thursday, Jan. 26 and Willmar Saturday, Jan. 28 at the Breezy Point Sports Center.

Minnesota had been threatening down the left side for a while, with fullback Zarek Valetin providing the service for Garcia.

The Loons rode their luck to start the game with Brian White putting a shot off the crossbar in the first minute. It was reminiscent of how the New York Red Bulls nearly started the home opener on March 13.

More goals for and against MNUFC have come in the first 15 minutes of the second half than any other period this season. Minnesota was able to weather that period Saturday.

Manager Adrian Heath has been upset with the way the team has restarted games against New York Red Bulls and Colorado Rapids.


With the eight key absences, manager Adrian Heath switched to 4-4-2 formation, with Garcia and Luis Amarilla up top, midfielders of Franco Fragapane, Cam Dunbar, Hassani Dotson, Wil Trapp and defenders Zarek Valentin, Micky Tapias, Brent Kallman and DJ Taylor in front of Clint Irwin in net.

The depleted roster meant MNUFC had to sign Zaydan Bello and Emmanuel Iwe to short-term agreements from MNUFC2 and both players made their MLS debut in the second half. New Swedish/Brazilian defender Mikael Marques also made his debut late in the game.


Minnesota has five of its next seven matches on the road. … MNUFC2 won its season opener, 3-0, over Real Monarchs in a snowy Utah on Friday night. Midfielder Diogo Pacheco scored two goals, goalkeeper Fred Emmings made three saves and Gage Romanshyn and Loic Mesanvi had nice through-ball assists. Nine players made their debuts for the Loons’ developmental team. … MNUFC introduced new attacker Sang Bin Jeong Saturday, but he has yet to receive his work visa and is ineligible to play. … Saturday was the eighth anniversary of MLS announcing MNUFC would become an MLS team. … The Loons had four Minnesotans in the game-day roster Saturday, which is believed to be high in its MLS era: Brent Kallman (Woodbury), Devin Padelford (Maplewood), Emmanuel Iwe (St. Louis Park) and Patrick Weah (Maple Grove). … Former MNUFC forward Christian Ramirez scored two goals for Columbus Crew on Sunday. It was his first minutes in MLS after spending the last two years with Aberdeen in the Scottish Premiership.


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