July 28, 2018 / 12:24 AM / 8 months ago

Vancouver has head-on chance to catch Minnesota in MLS chase

Alphonso Davies will get back to work Saturday after missing two games — and the Vancouver Whitecaps will try to get back to winning.

Davies, a 17-year-old Canadian international, will suit up for the Whitecaps (7-9-5, 26 points) as they host Minnesota United (9-11-1, 28 points) at BC Place Stadium. He was absent while the Whitecaps, who lost those two games, finalized a Major League Soccer transfer worth a record $22 million in U.S. dollars that will send him to German powerhouse Bayern Munich in January.

Now, after a whirlwind few days, he resumes the task of helping the struggling Whitecaps, who have lost four of their past five games, secure a playoff berth.

“It’s nice to have him back,” Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson told reporters after a training session. “He’s running around the field. He wants to play. ... If he’s full of energy, then I’m sure he’ll be involved.”

Davies has three goals and eight assists in his second full MLS season. He admitted to being nervous about the prospect of heading overseas in 2019 and trying to help the Caps reach the postseason.

“But life comes with challenges, and I’m ready to take on this one,” he told reporters.

The Caps will try to halt Minnesota’s strongest run since it joined MLS in 2017. The Loons have won three straight games for the first time — but coach Adrian Heath’s crew has a dismal 1-8-0 road record.

“We have spoken long and hard about it,” Heath told reporters.

“Everybody is aware of our struggles on the road. I have said it all along: If we are going to take this season deep into the end of the year and give ourselves a chance at the playoffs, then we have to improve our away form.”

New designated player Angelo Rodriguez, 29, who joined the Loons from his former Colombian side this week, will not play.

The Loons are 1-0-0 against Vancouver this season and can put more distance between themselves and the Caps after recently overtaking them in the standings. But a loss will put the Loons behind the Caps again.

“It becomes a big game or us, but equally for them as well,” said Heath.

—Field Level Media

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