2022 Major League Soccer, Regular Season
  • Franco Fragapane (17')
  • Jonathan Gonzalez (77')

Minnesota United clinch playoff spot with win over Whitecaps

Dayne St. Clair made seven saves for his fifth shutout of the season to help lead Minnesota United into the MLS Cup Playoffs for the fourth consecutive season with a 2-0 Decision Day victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps on Sunday afternoon in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Franco Fragapane and Jonathan Gonzalez scored goals for the Loons (14-14-6, 48 points), who snapped a six-match winless streak. Minnesota United finished in sixth place in the Western Conference and will travel to third-place FC Dallas in the first round of the playoffs, which begin Oct. 15.

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Thomas Hasal made three saves for Vancouver (12-15-7, 43 points), which had a three-game win streak snapped. The Whitecaps, who finished just 2-11-4 on the road, missed the playoffs with a ninth-place finish.

Vancouver, trying for its first road victory since June 18, started strong by forcing St. Clair to make three saves in the first six minutes. He stopped back-to-back attempts by Adrian Cubas on a header and Julian Gressel on a right-footed shot near the right edge of the 6-yard box.

Fragapane then gave the Loons a 1-0 lead in the 17th minute with his seventh goal of the season. Fragapane took a pass from Emanuel Reynoso on the left wing and dribbled to above the center of the box, where he fired a right-footed shot past a diving Hasal inside the left post.

Minnesota nearly made it 2-0 in the 27th minute but defender D.J. Taylor's right-footed shot from above the right corner of the box sailed just wide of the left post.

The Whitecaps had a chance to tie it in the 57th minute when midfielder Pedro Vite broke in free on the right side, but St. Clair stopped his right-footed attempt from the middle of the box.

Fragapane set up Robin Lod in the 70th minute in the middle of the box, but Lod's straight-on shot sailed over the crossbar.

Gonzalez then made it 2-0 in the 77th minute with his first MLS goal when he fired a left-footed shot off Joseph Rosales' cross into the right corner of the net.

St. Clair came up with another big save in the 81st minute on a curving left-footed free kick by Ryan Gauld outside the box, deflecting the shot with his fingertips as it headed for the top right corner of the goal.