A point in the bag and a week’s worth of rest and preparation ahead of them, Vancouver looks to turn the page on a sorry chapter in the club’s history. The bleeding has been stemmed, the wound has clotted, but there’s still healing to be done.The Vancouver Whitecaps’ team-record-tying five-game losing streak came to an end Saturday at Allianz Field in Saint Paul, Min., after playing Minnesota United FC to a scoreless draw.Still winless in nine Major League Soccer matches, the Caps (4-11-9) picked up their first points in a month, when they had a 2-2 away draw with FC Dallas, and jumped a point above the Colorado Rapids out of last place in the West.The Loons (10-7-5) are on a six-game unbeaten streak after tying their past two games.“(This was a) performance of who we really are,” said Caps coach Marc Dos Santos. “From the month of May, the month of June, the identity that we were building in the team … we had lost that in July for different reasons and we had to regain it. I feel that today, we regained that part of our game against a very good team.“… After the hard loss Wednesday, it emotionally (left) a lot of scars, and you ask for a reaction and you ask for a commitment. The guys answered, and everybody answered as a team, and that’s very positive. When we do things as a team, we’re able to be in every game.”Here’s what we learned: Defence does its jobThe Whitecaps had been getting outgunned offensively by their opposition during the five-game losing skid, giving up 65 shots in their last two MLS games combined.They limited the Loons to 16 shots, well below their league-leading away average of 22, and not a single shot on target until Max Crepeau snatched a shot from Darwin Quintero in the 94th minute.That’s not to say Minnesota didn’t have scoring chances as they hit the framework three times and had two shots skim over the bar by inches. They also fired 37 crosses into Vancouver’s box, but only completed three, with Derek Cornelius (four clearances) and Erik Godoy (nine) doing yeoman’s work.It was the fourth shutout of the season — but first on the road — for the Whitecaps, who had been outscored 17-2 in their losing streak.“Yeah, I mean finally we got out of the slump. We finally got back, not necessarily to our right ways because we’re still looking for a win, but yeah it’s good to start getting back points,” said centreback Derek Cornelius. “I think it was a full team performance. Everyone worked their socks off, everyone was all in together. We’re all frustrated about the situation that we’re in right now, and we were all before the game saying that we gotta just go our there as a team and give our best and that whatever happens happens, and today we were able to get the draw and just start going the right way.”
Vancouver Whitecaps forward Fredy Montero (12) talks to the team before the game against Minnesota United at Allianz Field.
Brad Rempel /
USA TODAY Sports
Settled inSaturday’s result was the best response — short of a win, obviously — the Whitecaps could have had after the mid-week devastation caused by the loss to Calgary-based Cavalry FC in the Canadian Championship.They played a tough opponent — Minny is fourth in the West and has lost just once at home this season — to a standstill, and didn’t have the same unsettled quality that has dogged them in their last six games.Mostly poised and calm, they even had the bulk of scoring chances in the second half, with Yordy Reyna forcing a diving save from Loons’ keeper Vito Mannone, and coming just short of a cross from Ali Adnan that he would have guided in from about four yards out.The Whitecaps had just eight shots on goal, but five of them were on target. Minny had 55.6 per cent of possession, although Vancouver held the majority of second-half possession until the final 15 minutes.“It feels amazing, especially after the run that we’ve had recently. I think that this can be a turning point for us and I think everyone in there feels really good,” forward Theo Bair said post-game.“I think that we found our balance between attacking and defending. We got plenty of balls up forward, maybe not the cleanest chances ever, but I think we’re moving towards something.”Oh HenryFive Canadians made the starting lineup for the first time in Whitecaps’ history, but one of them — centreback Doneil Henry — only lasted 14 minutes.The burly Brampton, Ont., native pulled up lame as he guided a ball into touch and appeared to grab his left hamstring — the same one he injured against Sporting Kansas City and which kept him out for the Caps’ last three games before the Gold Cup break.He had taken a flying knee to the lower back from Quintero earlier in the match, and that was the official reason given for his departure.He was replaced by Godoy, who had played every minute for the Whitecaps this season, before getting a rest Saturday.“Yeah, between Doneil, Derek, and Erik, they’ve all played in this team and they’re all ready to come in,” said Dos Santos. “We wanted to give Erik a rest, but unfortunately he got a rest of 10 minutes, but he was ready. Mentally he was ready, he came in, he helped the team, and that’s football.”email@example.comTwitter.com/TheRealJJAdamsNEXT GAMESaturday, Aug. 3Vancouver Whitecaps vs. FC Cincinnati5 p.m., Nippert Stadium, TV: TSN4; Radio: TSN 1040 AMCLICK HERE to report a typo.Is there more to this story? We’d like to hear from you about this or any other stories you think we should know about. Email firstname.lastname@example.org