COLUMBUS – Kekuta Manneh’s second-half goal and early assist earned Columbus Crew SC a 2-2 draw on the road against his former team, the Major League Soccer Western Conference-leading Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday evening.
The Whitecaps took an early lead in the 15th minute from the foot of Fredy Montero. The midfielder received a long ball from Cristian Techera that was also headed forward by Yordy Reyna. Montero sent a roller into the net after getting behind the Columbus back line to raise the score to 1-0.
The 19th minute saw Manneh show some fancy footwork on Vancouver’s end before sending a cross in that found a leaping Ola Kamara. Kamara redirected the ball into the net with an outstretched right foot to immediately equalize and put the score at 1-1.
Manneh found the net in the 63rd minute and put Columbus ahead 2-1. After receiving an assist from Crew SC midfielder and captain Wil Trapp, Manneh dribbled in the middle of the field before sending a rocket towards the left post, leaving Vancouver goalkeeper David Ousted no chance to save the ball.
The Caps scored in stoppage time to cause the eventual 2-2 draw. Two minutes into stoppage time, Montero chipped a ball in the box to midfielder Tony Tchani, who slotted it into the net near the right post. Jake Nerwinski supplied the ball to Montero and received a secondary assist.
A trade in late March resulted in Manneh becoming a member of the Black & Gold in exchange for allocation money and Tchani. Manneh now owns four goals and three assists for Crew SC since being traded from the Whitecaps. The goal was his first since July 4.
The goal was the 16th of Kamara’s season, tying his total from a year ago. The striker is now tied for ninth all-time in the club’s history with fellow-striker Kei Kamara at a total of 32 scores. Ola leads the Black & Gold in goals this season.
Trapp’s assist brought his season tally to five, setting a new career-high for the captain in a single season.
Columbus (13-12-5, 44 points) remained unbeaten in six games and in fourth place in the Eastern Conference above Atlanta United FC thanks to the point. Vancouver (13-9-6, 45 points) remained atop the standings out west.
Ball movement was a strength for Crew SC in Vancouver. The Black & Gold recorded more total passes (534-346) than the Caps and had a higher passing accuracy percentage (87 percent to 77 percent).
With home games against Eastern Conference foes such as the New York Red Bulls on September 23 and D.C. United on September 30 leaving vital points up for grabs, Crew SC is charging closer to chasing the 2017 MLS Cup.
Columbus closes the regular season on the road at Orlando City SC on October 15 and at New York City FC on October 22.
Columbus Crew SC will return home on Saturday, September 23 for a match against the New York Red Bulls at 7:30 p.m. ET at MAPFRE Stadium. The Black & Gold will remain at home in the push for the playoffs when they play D.C. United on Saturday, September 30 at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Venue: BC Place (Vancouver, B.C.)
Referee: Silviu Petrescu
Assistants: Oscar Mitchell-Carvalho, Anthony Vasoli
Fourth Official: Alex Chilowicz
Video Assistant Referee: Matthew Franz
15’ – VAN – Fredy Montero (Yordy Reyna, Cristian Techera)
19’ – CLB – Ola Kamara (Kekuta Manneh)
63’ – CLB – Kekuta Manneh (Wil Trapp)
90’+2’ – VAN – Tony Tchani (Fredy Montero, Jake Nerwinski)
CLB – Josh Williams (Caution) 27’
CLB – Mohammed Abu (Caution) 33’
VAN – Kendall Waston (Caution) 56’
CLB – Justin Meram (Caution) 90’+1’
Columbus Crew SC: Zack Steffen; Hector Jimenez, Lalas Abubaker, Josh Williams, Harrison Afful; Mohammed Abu (Artur 46’), Wil Trapp ©; Kekuta Manneh (Justin Meram 70’), Federico Higuain, Pedro Santos (Alex Crognale 83’); Ola Kamara
Substitutes not used: Brad Stuver, Connor Maloney, Niko Hansen, Adam Jahn
Vancouver Whitecaps FC: David Ousted; Jordan Harvey (Erik Hurtado 80’), Tim Parker ©, Kendall Waston, Jake Nerwinski; Tony Tchani, Aly Ghazal; Brek Shea (Bernie Ibini 72’), Yordy Reyna, Cristian Techera (Alphonso Davies 60’); Fredy Montero
Substitutes not used: Stefan Marinovic, Andrew Jacobson, Nicolas Mezquida, Marcel de Jong
Another one down
The all-time record between Crew SC and the Whitecaps now stands at 2-4-2 in favor of Vancouver. Columbus has scored nine times while allowing 12 goals in those contests.
Crew SC’s record up north at BC Place in Vancouver now stands at 1-1-2.
The match was the lone meeting of 2017 between the Black & Gold and the Caps.