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Simon Becher’s stoppage goal salvages Whitecaps’ draw at Minnesota

Mar 25, 2023; Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota United FC midfielder Franco Fragapane (7) in action against Vancouver Whitecaps forward Brian White (24) during the first half at Allianz Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports

Simon Becher scored in the eighth minute of stoppage time to give the visiting Vancouver Whitecaps a 1-1 draw with Minnesota United on Saturday night in Saint Paul, Minn.

Pedro Vite’s crossing pass from outside the right edge of the box skimmed off the head of Loons defender Mikael Marques in the center of the box to Becher alone on the left edge of the 6-yard box. Becher’s right-footed shot caromed off the knee of Minnesota goalie Clint Irwin, then off the left post and into the net to salvage a point for the Whitecaps (0-3-3, 3 points) on the final shot of the game.

Yohei Takaoka made two saves for Vancouver, which has tied three straight matches — all by identical 1-1 scores — after opening the season with a pair of losses.

Mender Garcia scored in the 40th minute for the Loons (2-0-2, 8 points). Minnesota United was missing eight regular players who were away on international duty as well as 2022 All-Star midfielder Emanuel Reynoso, who remains suspended by the league for failing to report. Seven of the eight players started the Loons’ 2-1 victory at Colorado a week earlier.

Irwin finished with four saves in his first start for Minnesota and 134th start of his MLS career. Irwin, who turns 34 next week, started in place of Dayne St. Clair, who was away playing for the Canadian National Team.

Vancouver nearly took a 1-0 lead in the first minute when forward Brian White fired a spinning left-footed shot from the middle of the box that looped off the top of the crossbar.

The Loons, who had just 41-percent possession in the opening half, took a 1-0 lead just before halftime on Garcia’s ducking header at middle edge of the 6-yard box into the upper left corner of the net off a crossing pass from defender Zarek Valentin.

Vancouver appeared to tie it in the 77th when Ranko Veselinovic headed in a rebound of a White header on a free kick, but the goal was immediately waived off because defender Tristan Blackmon was ruled offside.

–Field Level Media

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