Report and Reaction: Simple for Simon as Becher’s last gasp goal earns point for Whitecaps in Minnesota

Report and Reaction: Simple for Simon as Becher’s last gasp goal earns point for Whitecaps in Minnesota

Super sub Simon Becher was the Vancouver Whitecaps hero at Minnesota’s Allianz Field on Saturday evening. The young striker’s dramatic last gasp goal eight minutes into stoppage time earned the ‘Caps a point at a place they’ve still yet to record their first win. It was no more than the visitors deserved after dominating a match against hugely depleted opponents who were missing eight players to international duty, including seven starters from their previous match.

Becher’s first team goalscoring record is sublime. Three appearances in total, two of them in MLS play and one in the Champions League, 42 minutes played, and three goals to show for it. A goal every 14 minutes of first team action so far surely must get him a start next week. Although nothing is guaranteed with Vanni Sartini’s side.

The late victory brought the ire of Minnesota United, who had taken the lead through Mender Garcia’s 40th minute headed opener. Already unhappy with where six minutes of stoppage time had come from in the first place, they were left apoplectic when Becher scored two minutes beyond even that. The Whitecaps cared not a jot and were happy to take the point and run, but they will certainly be left yet again ruing the fact that they didn’t finish a match with all three, as they still look for their first win of the new season.

Sartini made three enforced changes from the team that drew last week at the LA Galaxy due to international duty for Andreas Cubas and Javain Brown and the injury to Sergio Cordova, with Mathias Laborda, Sebastian Berhalter, and Alessandro Schopf.

And it was the Whitecaps who came out on the front foot, with Brian White crashing a volley off the bar in the first minute.

Julian Gressel was next to have a go for the visitors, with his volley easily saved by Clint Irwin five minutes later.

There was a lot of huffing and puffing from both teams, but no real goalmouth action until the 31st minute when Yohei Takaoka saved a shot from Luis Amarilla.

Minnesota were enjoying their best spell of the game and it just felt a matter of time before they got the breakthrough and it eventually came in the 40th minute when Garcia got goalside of Laborda six yards out to get onto the end of a pinpoint delivery from Zarek Valentin and his stopping header gave Takaoka no chance and the home team the 1-0 lead.

Ryan Gauld had a chance to run unchecked at a Minnesota defence that just kept backing off on the stroke of half time, but he pulled his low effort wide left and the ‘Caps went in trailing.

Vancouver pushed for an equaliser in the second, with the understrength home side seemingly happy to just hang on to their slender advantage, and they should have got it in the 72nd minute when White blasted over from a great position in front of goal. Moments later the American had another chance but put his effort wide of the back post.

The Whitecaps thought they finally got back onto level terms in the 78th minute when Ranko Veselinovic headed home a rebound after a Tristan Blackmon header was tipped away by Irwin, but the joy was very short lived with the flag rightly going up for Blackmon being offside when the ball came in.

With the game deep into stoppage time, and two minutes past the already allotted six, the ‘Caps finally got their leveller.

Pedro Vite swung a ball in from the right that was superbly headed on to the back post by Minnesota’s Mikael Marque right into the path of the outstretched leg of Becher, who directed it past Irwin to snatch a point for Vancouver.

The late drama initially left you feeling what a great battling performance it was from the ‘Caps. Fighting to the end, taking a valiant road point in a place they’ve still never won in, but once the dust settled and you think about it more clearly, this was very much two points dropped and a huge opportunity wasted to get their first win.

They dominated possession, it was basically three to one in their favour in shots, they were playing a massively depleted side, yet they still couldn’t get the job done. This is concerning about what the quality of this team actually is. They badly need a goalscorer. Maybe Becher can be that man.

Let’s hope the coming week is a time for reflection on what needs to change for Vanni. He talked about being slow to react and make changes last year, this season can’t simply be a repeat. They need to make tweaks to get that first win next weekend at home to Montreal. Anything but a victory in that one is not acceptable.

FINAL SCORE: Minnesota United 1 – 1 Vancouver Whitecaps

ATT: 19,609

Possession: MIN 37.1% – VAN 62.9%
Shots: MIN 8 – VAN 23
Shots on Goal: MIN 2 – VAN 5
Saves: MIN 4 – VAN 2
Fouls: MIN 8 – VAN 10
Offsides: MIN 0 – VAN 3
Corners: MIN 2 – VAN 10

MINNESOTA: Clint Irwin; Zarek Valentin, Miguel Tapias, Brent Kallman, D.J. Taylor; Cameron Dunbar (Zaydan Bello 76’), Wil Trapp, Hassani Dotson, Franco Fragapane (Mikael Marque 85’); Ménder García (Emmanuel Iwe 66), Luis Amarilla [Substitutes not used: Eric Dick, Doneil Henry, Tani Oluwaseyi, Devin Padelford, Patrick Weah]

VANCOUVER: Yohei Takaoka; Mathías Laborda, Ranko Veselinović, Tristan Blackmon, Ryan Raposo (Ali Ahmed 59’); Julian Gressel, Sebastian Berhalter (Simon Becher 70’), Alessandro Schöpf (J.C. Ngando 82’); Cristian Dájome (Déiber Caicedo 82’), Ryan Gauld (Pedro Vite 60’); Brian White [Substitutes not used: Thomas Hasal, Isaac Boehmer, Karifa Yao, Vasco Fry]




On the match:

“I don’t know it feels like a movie, it looked like it wasn’t real. I think we shot at goal like a million times, and we weren’t scoring. We were playing well. The first half was really good and the first 30 minutes were really good. We could have scored one or two goals easy and then they scored a very good goal, to be honest, good header and everything that can happen against a good team. But then we were, I would say, the owner of the game in charge of the game for the entire game. Both when we were playing with our Christmas Tree and both when we were playing in a 4-4-2 when I put Simon on. So the goal at the end is not only deserved, but it’s also I think, if someone just read the statistics of the game and sees goal for them at the 40th minute and goal for us at 90+7, it’s that we are going to be happy with the point, no they’re going to be happy with the point because we played much better than them.”

On Simon Becher’s play:

“We say every time that Simon is a poacher, Simon is a box player, he’s going to be useful this season in the last 20 and 30 minutes. He did his role perfectly, he came on and combined with Brian [White] two or three times, he worked his lower back off, even in pressing so I’m happy he scored in the end.”


On his game tying goal:

“I think at the end of the game, we’re trying to get forward and trying to throw everything at them. I saw the ball get sprayed out wide to Pedro [Vite] and in my head I just tried to get into the box and got to the back post and it got flicked on and from there it’s just kind of instinct. I think at the end of the game, we really were just throwing it out there and it fell to me, so I just put it away.”

On the sense on the field until the 90th minute:

“I think coming on, the communication was to leave it all out there and when I get in the box, just try to put it away. I think everyone was looking to their right and looking to their left and saying, ‘come on, let’s go, let’s leave it all out here.’ You kind of saw that, when things weren’t really going our way, they were trying to kill the game off. We wanted to push to get one more chance and towards the end, I think we racked up a few corners and we’re throwing the ball in the box and when that happens, good things can happen. So I think we were confident and not only that but we wanted to work until the final whistle. I think there were six [minutes] added and I think I got mine in the 98th. So just pushing right to that last minute everyone, from front to back, the guys on the bench, everyone was pushing so it feels good to pick that up when you’re trying to leave it all out there.”


On the mood of the team:

“It’s a great feeling, obviously a long hard fought match up until that point. Happy to walk away with a point, a good performance. Now we’re going to continue building on that, really happy for Simon.”

On playing as a leader to this team:

“I think it’s providing energy in those dying moments. Especially being in the league for a little while now, especially at the end of the game, when you’re fighting to get a point or a goal. There’s more in the tank and you can always push yourself and I think, I try to do that. Definitely at the end of the game trying to drive the ball, create opportunities and just push the guys around me to try and go for it. I think experience definitely helps me there along with other guys around me that have been around the league and played a lot of games but I’m happy we could push for that and I’m happy for Simon.”

Authored by: Michael McColl

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