Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Alphonso Davies pauses during a news conference at the MLS soccer team’s training facility in Vancouver, on Thursday July 26, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)

Vancouver Whitecaps, Minnesota United set to battle for MLS playoff spot

Whether star Alphonso Davies will be in the starting lineup at B.C. Place remains to be seen

The most talked about player in Major League Soccer could return to the field in Vancouver this weekend.

Whitecaps midfielder Alphonso Davies missed three games as negotiations took place over his record-breaking US$22-million transfer to Bayern Munich of the German Bundesliga, but the 17-year-old was back in B.C. for training with his teammates on Thursday.

Whether he’ll be in the starting lineup when the ‘Caps (7-9-5) take on Minnesota United (11-9-1) at B.C. Place on Saturday remains to be seen.

Vancouver coach Carl Robinson said Davies hasn’t trained much in the past week and a half, so he may not be ready physically or mentally.

“We’ll see. If he’s full of energy, I’m sure he’ll be involved. If he’s not, I’m sure he’ll be off the bench,” Robinson said.

Either way, Saturday’s game will be crucial for Vancouver and Minnesota alike. Both teams are fighting for a playoff spot, currently sitting below the cut-off in the Western Conference and separated by two points in the standings.

VIDEO: Whitecaps’ Alphonso Davies excited to play with Bayern Munich stars

United have won their last three league matches, but the Whitecaps are coming off the high of punching their ticket to the Canadian Championship final with a 2-0 (2-1 aggregate) victory over the Montreal Impact on Wednesday.

Whitecaps captain Kendall Waston said it was a much-needed win after three losses in a row, including two league games and a tournament match.

He added keeping Montreal from scoring a single goal was especially important.

“The focus was there. So we’ve got to keep that focus and even more,” Waston said.

The last time Vancouver was able to post a clean sheet was April 27, when they notched a 2-0 home victory over Real Salt Lake.

Keeping the ball out of the back of the net has been a challenge for the Whitecaps. They sit at the bottom of the Western Conference when it comes to goals against, having been scored on 42 times this season.

For Vancouver, stopping Minnesota’s offence will require finding a way to corral Darwin Quintero. The 30-year-old midfielder has tallied six goals in United’s last five games.

Robinson said Quintero is dangerous but every team in the league has strong players that can score.

“I’m more focused on our boys and what Yordy (Reyna) does and what The Bug (Cristian Techera) does and Brek Shea, who I thought was terrific (on Wednesday),” he said.

“We’ll focus on what we can do.”

Vancouver will be without midfielder Efrain Juarez for the match.

The MLS disciplinary committee announced Friday that it suspended Vancouver Juarez an additional two games (three games total) and issued an additional undisclosed fine for aggressive behaviour toward a match official during the 77th minute of Vancouver’s match against Seattle Sounders FC on July 21.

Juarez, who originally received a red card for his actions, was slated to serve his red-card suspension against Minnesota United FC, with his additional two-games being Vancouver’s next regular season matches on Aug. 4 against New York City FC and Aug. 11 against the Portland Timbers.

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Volunteers provide Ladysmith Secondary with 600 cookies

Oceanview church spearheads a tasty way to show the love on Valentines Day

Taking Ladysmith’s heritage to the streets

Recounting the Boer War legends behind the original city street names

Here’s what the Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce does for you

Chamber of Commerce Week is February 18 to 22

It’s a lovebeat at Daponte’s Valentine’s Day show

Heavy snow outside blurs the lines of exactly what occasion was being celebrated

North Cowichan asked to participate in program to cut human-wildlife conflicts

Ladysmith partnered with WildSafeBC to have acommunity coordinator educate residents

Trudeau’s principal secretary, Gerald Butts, resigns amid SNC-Lavalin furor

Butts categorically denies the accusation that he or anyone else in the PMO improperly pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould

Lost a ring? This B.C. man will find it for you

Chris Turner founded The Ring Finders, an international directory of metal detector hobbyists

Poverty coalition has high hopes for B.C. poverty reduction strategy

Funding allocation expected to be released with 2019 budget

‘How did we get here?’: B.C. mom of transplant recipient worries about measles outbreaks

Addison, 7, cannot get a live vaccine because she has a heart transplant

Steelhead LNG stops work on Kwispaa LNG project near Bamfield

Huu-ay-aht First Nations ‘deeply disappointed; Steelhead says funding is the problem

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh calls for public inquiry over SNC-Lavalin questions

Vancouver member of Parliament Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet last week

Canadian airlines waiting for guidance from Ottawa over X gender option

Major U.S. airlines said they will change their process so passengers can identify themselves along non-binary lines

Moose Hide campaign takes message to Canadian schools

Campaign launches new K-12 education platform

‘Violent’ B.C. man wanted on Canada-wide warrant

Prince George man with ties to Vernon sought by police

Most Read