Whitecaps FC finish preseason with a dominating 2-0 win over Minnesota United FC

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INDIO, CALIFORNIA – Vancouver Whitecaps FC wrapped up their impressive preseason with a dominating performance on Saturday morning earning a 2-0 victory over Minnesota United FC at Empire Polo Club.

Both of the ‘Caps goals came in the second half as central midfielder Julian Gressel scored a right-footed volley from in close and attacking midfielder Ryan Gauld hit a left-footed strike from the top of the 18-yard box.

Today was the ‘Caps sixth game at the Coachella Valley Invitational posting an undefeated record of 3W-0L-3D, while recording three clean sheets.

The team will now fly back to Vancouver this afternoon following nearly three weeks in Southern California. The ‘Caps will take the next two days off before a full week of training as they prepare for the 2023 MLS season opener against Western Conference rivals Real Salt Lake at BC Place on Saturday, February 25. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. PT.

Once again, head coach Vanni Sartini side started in a 4-3-2-1 formation as newest addition goalkeeper Yohei Takaoka made his preseason debut after officially being announced on Friday afternoon.

Vancouver looked to strike early with a couple big chances in the first 10 minutes.

In the sixth minute, Gressel sent striker Brian White in behind Minnesota’s backline; however, Loons keeper and Canadian international Dayne St. Clair saved White’s shot from in close.

The 'Caps continued to press and a couple minutes later Gressel found Vite wide open on the left wing. The Ecuadorian crossed it to Cristian Dájome, after the Colombian took a touch to bring it down near the penalty mark, his shot was blocked to keep it scoreless.

In the 20th minute, Takaoka got his first bit of action as Minnesota looked to hit Vancouver on the counter. Bongokuhle Hlongwane played United’s Designated Player Luis Amarilla in on goal. The Paraguayan international unleashed a strike at goal that forced Takaoka to make a diving save to his right.

In the 26th minute, White appeared to open the scoring after some nice play by Javain Brown, Gressel and White. However, on the final pass from Gressel, White was called for offside.

Following a few chances by Minnesota, Whitecaps FC nearly broke the deadlock just before halftime. Off a corner, Pedro Vite whipped the ball back post, Brown headed it down to White who then found Tristan Blackmon. The centre back's shot towards the near post was saved by St. Clair.

To start the second half, Vancouver continued to create as Mathías Laborda’s cross to Gressel was headed right at St. Clair. A few minutes later, Dájome got in behind and was brought down by Minnesota’s Miguel Tapias, who earned a yellow card. On the ensuing free kick, Gressel’s cross was cleared away keeping the score at 0-0.

In the 71st minute, Whitecaps FC opened the scoring with an absolute stunner by Gressel. Left back Luís Martins, who had recently entered the match, sent a perfect cross to Gressel at the back post. The German-born US international hit a full volley into the back of the net to give the 'Caps the lead.

Vancouver put the game away in the 88th minute after some nice passing from Martins into White who then back heeled to Gauld at the top of the box. The Scotsman took two touches and then hit it from the top of the box to finish the game at 2-0.

Scoring Summary

71’ - VAN - Julian Gressel (Luís Martins, Ryan Gauld)
88’ - VAN - Ryan Gauld (Brian White, Luís Martins)

62’ - MIN - Miguel Tapias
64’ - VAN - Cristian Dájome

Vancouver Whitecaps FC
18.Yohei Takaoka; 23.Javain Brown (14.Luís Martins 62’), 6.Tristan Blackmon, 4.Ranko Veselinović ©, 2.Mathías Laborda; 19.Julian Gressel, 20.Andrés Cubas (16.Sebastian Berhalter 69'), 8.Alessandro Schöpf (31.Russell Teibert 79’); 11.Cristian Dájome (27.Ryan Raposo 79’), 45.Pedro Vite (25.Ryan Gauld 62’); 24.Brian White