PORTLAND, OREGON – Vancouver Whitecaps FC wrapped up the 2016 preseason with a 3-1 win over Minnesota United FC on Saturday afternoon at Providence Park in the 2016 Simple Invitational.
Pedro Morales recorded a first-half brace while Octavio Rivero headed in a goal off a rebound as Vancouver jumped to a three-goal lead before the halftime whistle. Damion Lowe scored the lone goal for Minnesota United FC in the second half but the 'Caps early advantage was too much for the NASL side to overcome.
Each team played most of the second half with 10 men as United FC defender Kevin Venegas was shown a red card three minutes after intermission, and Whitecaps FC midfielder Kianz Froese received his second yellow card caution in the 62nd minute.
The 'Caps finish the preseason with a 5W-1L-0D record and now turn their focus to the 2016 MLS regular season opener against Didier Drogba and Montreal Impact on Sunday, March 6 at BC Place.
Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson started an experienced lineup for the preseason finale, featuring eight returning players from last year, joined by new acquisitions Fraser Aird, Christian Bolaños, and Blas Pérez.
Things got started for Vancouver when Rivero found Cristian Techera on the attack in the eighth minute, but the diminutive winger's left-footed shot attempt on a half-volley was timed well by United FC goalkeeper Sammy Ndjock.
Techera's activity paid off just five minutes later when he sprinted to keep the ball alive inside the right corner. Lowe was first to Techera's cross but the clearance attempt hopped just outside of the 18-yard box, where Morales met the ball and slotted the game's opening goal.
Morales threatened again from the same spot in the 32nd minute but was fouled by United FC midfielder Greg Jordan before he could inflict damage. Ndjock dove left to make the save on Techera's 20-yard direct free kick attempt. The deflected ball hit the underside of the crossbar before Rivero pounced on the rebound, nodding it into the empty net to double the 'Caps lead.
Morales would score again on a penalty kick in the 41st minute after Jordan Harvey outran Venegas and Tony Wall to chase the ball down the left byline, earning a foul just inside the box.
United FC would respond early in the second half. In a duel for the ball between Bolaños and Venegas, Bolaños was called for a foul, but the official issued Venegas a red card for his activity after the whistle. Despite being down a man, the Minnesota attack would get behind the Whitecaps FC defence on the ensuing free kick as Tiago Calvano lobbed a ball forward to Lowe, who stabbed it in past a diving David Ousted.
Minnesota would have a pair of chances to cut the lead down further but Kendall Waston and Tim Parker provided a number of stops for Whitecaps FC. The centre back pair was making their first start together since last year's MLS Cup Playoffs.
The 'Caps now travel back to Vancouver for a final week of preparation before First Kick next weekend.
On Monday, February 29, Whitecaps FC host the 2016 Season Launch Party presented by Red Bull at the Commodore Ballroom. The exclusive event for 'Caps Club Members is open to all ages. Doors open at 6 p.m.
13’ – VAN – Pedro Morales
32’ – VAN – Octavio Rivero
41' – VAN – Pedro Morales (Penalty kick)
49’ – MIN – Damion Lowe (Tiago Calvano)
44’ – VAN – Kianz Froese
62’ – VAN – Kianz Froese
87' – VAN – Pedro Morales
48’ – MIN – Kevin Venegas
62' – VAN – Kianz Froese
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1.David Ousted; 8.Fraser Aird (6.Jordan Smith 71'), 4.Kendall Waston (22.Christian Dean 83'), 26.Tim Parker, 2.Jordan Harvey (3.Sam Adekugbe 71'); 38.Kianz Froese, 77.Pedro Morales©; 7.Christian Bolaños (32.Marco Bustos 83'), 27.Blas Pérez (20.Deybi Flores 64'), 13.Cristian Techera (23.Kekuta Manneh 64'); 29.Octavio Rivero
Substitutions not used
70.Paolo Tornaghi*, 14.Cole Seiler, 63.Kadin Chung^, 64.Thomas Gardner^, 65.Matthew Baldisimo^
* Camp invitee
Minnesota United FC
33.Sammy Ndjock; 2.Justin Davis, 5.Tiago Calvano©, 16.Damion Lowe, 22.Kevin Venegas; 10.Ben Speas (32.Chris Ritter 49'), 23.Greg Jordan (77.Juliano Elizeu Vicentini 63'), 35.Tony Walls; 8.Danny Cruz (17.Lance Laing 63'), 12.Bernard Añor (13.Jamie Waston 72'), 21.Christian Ramirez (25.Ismala Jome 72')
Substitutions not used
1.Aaron Perez, 3.Anthony Wallace, 4.Aaron Pitchkolan, 6.Brent Kallman, 15.Oc Okwuono, 18.Daniel Mendes, 20.Andrei Gotsmanov, 24.Kristian Nicht