ST. PAUL, Minn. — Vancouver Whitecaps coach Marc Dos Santos believes his team deserved a better fate on Wednesday.
Though the 'Caps put five shots on target, they couldn't get a ball past Minnesota United 'keeper Tyler Miller and dropped a 1-0 decision to the Loons.
It was Minnesota's first win of the Major League Soccer season.
"We deserved more from this game," Dos Santos said. "But what I told the guys was in moments that you lose games, lose like this. Lose where you fought, lose where you created, lose where you tried everything. And that’s what we did tonight."
Goalkeeper Maxime Crepeau had three saves for the Whitecaps (2-2-1) but Minnesota (1-0-4) broke a scoreless deadlock in the 72nd minute.
Robin Lod sent a cross in to Ramon Abila in the box and the Argentine forward nodded a header into the bottom right corner of Vancouver's net.
Abila came off the bench just five minutes before. It was his second goal of the season.
Abila was then given a yellow card for a celebration the included partially removing his jersey to reveal a shirt with an unidentified image underneath.
Minnesota came into the game on a four-game losing skid to start the season while the 'Caps were coming off a 2-0 victory over Canadian rivals CF Montreal on Saturday.
It's been a disappointing start to the campaign for a United side that made it to the MLS Western Conference final last year.
Minnesota had the benefit of 4,100 fans in the stands at Allianz Stadium on Wednesday and Dos Santos said the crowd acted as a 12th player for the home side.
"It’s a huge competitive advantage to play like that. You felt it in the stadium," said the 'Caps coach. "But our guys never pushed, our guys were aggressive. We have a confident group today and I’m going to make sure the confidence stays up because it’s not a loss that’s going to bring the group down."
Vancouver had a great chance to draw even in the 87th minute off a free kick. The ball landed on the foot of Jake Nerwinski, wide open inside of the box but his shot went wide of the United net.
Earlier in the half, fullback Ranko Veselinovic sent a header just wide of the post off a corner in the 62nd minute.
Dos Santos liked that two of his defenders had prime scoring opportunities on Wednesday.
"I want us to grow as a team and be less and less predictable, have guys that come from different areas, crosses from different areas, different players involved," he said.
The usual suspects had chances, too.
Cristian Dajome blasted a right-footed shot on goal from inside the box in the 64th minute, only to see Miller get a hand on it, popping it up and out of play.
Canadian striker Lucas Cavallini had several near misses, including a free kick in the 30th minute after Micheal Boxall hauled down Dajome at the top of the penalty box.
Cavallini took the kick and got a shot through the Minnesota wall, but Miller dropped to his knees to make the save.
"It hurts, it hurts when you don’t see those chances go in the back of the net," Vancouver's Deiber Caicedo said through a translator. "We’ve just got to focus on putting those chances towards goal, finishing those chances."
The Whitecaps know they're a team that can be dangerous in the attacking third, said midfielder Russell Teibert.
"We’re not satisfied leaving here without at least a point. We had chances tonight that normally we capitalize on. Our guys can finish. We know that. We’ve scored goals," he said.
"We created good chances tonight and the ball just didn’t bounce our way."
Minnesota United will be back in action on Saturday, hosting FC Dallas. The Whitecaps will visit Sporting Kansas City on Sunday.
NOTES: Rightback Bruno Gaspar made his first-ever start for Vancouver. … Miller replaced Canadian 'keeper Dayne St. Clair in the Minnesota net. St. Clair, from Pickering, Ont., has allowed 10 goals in four games this season. … Teibert made his 223rd appearance for the Whitecaps, the 10th most in the club's history.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 12, 2021.