Whitecaps' Becher ties game in stoppage time to earn draw with Minnesota United

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.

Goalkeeper Sean Johnson shines for Toronto FC in 0-0 draw

Five Vancouver men's soccer players run on the field, celebrating.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC forward Simon Becher, left, celebrates his last minute 1-1 tying goal against Minnesota United FC on Saturday. (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 centre 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 per cent 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.

Johnson helps preserve scoreless draw for Toronto FC

Sean Johnson made an impressive save in extra time to preserve Toronto FC's 0-0 draw with the host San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday.

Two minutes into extra time, Jackson Yueill blasted a shot from outside the box that Johnson knocked aside with a diving stop. Tommy Thompson was in the area for a possible rebound chance but lost his footing, allowing Johnson to gather the loose ball.

Despite the late missed chance, the Earthquakes are still unbeaten (2-0-1) at home this season.

Since their season-opening loss to D.C. United, Toronto FC has an undefeated 1-0-3 record.

Due to injuries and international absences, both Toronto (1-1-3, 6 points) and San Jose (2-2-1, 7 points) were missing several regulars from their starting lineups. The result was a general lack of offensive cohesion, and a lack of finish for both teams. Each club had only two shots on target in the game, despite 15 total shots from Toronto FC and 14 shots from the Earthquakes.

Two of the game's better chances came early. In the sixth minute, Cristian Espinoza sent a good cross in front, but Benjamin Kikanovic's sliding touch attempt was wide of the net.

One minute later, Toronto FC's Deandre Kerr was sprung behind the defence on a pass up the middle of the field. Earthquakes goalkeeper J.T. Marcinkowski came out of his net to challenge the play, cutting down on Kerr's shooting angle and getting enough of the ball to deflect the shot off-target.

Early in the second half, San Jose got some attacking pressure from an unlikely source in defender Rodrigues. Off a corner in the 54th minute and then off an Espinoza cross in the 56th minute, Rodrigues delivered quality headers that just missed the net.

Marcinkowski made two saves for his second shutout in three games played. Marcinkowski has been called upon to start while goalkeeper Daniel has been recovering from a knee injury.

Johnson made two saves for his second consecutive shutout, following Toronto FC's 2-0 win over Inter Miami last Saturday.

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