Manneh does it again: Vancouver 1-Seattle 0

October 11, 2014 at 12:44 pm | Posted in Vancouver Whitecaps, Whitecaps season 2014 | Leave a comment
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We knew if the Vancouver Whitecaps were going to beat the Seattle Sounders last night that Kekuta Manneh was going to have to do something very special like he did last year. And he did just that, providing a single piece of magic, and ultimately a win, for Whitecaps fans to savour for a very long time.

"Was I dreaming or did it really happen?"

“Was I dreaming or did it really happen?”

Manneh was the only real choice to start on the left side with Darren mattocks out on international duty and Sebastian Fernandez suspended due to yellow card accumulation.

Manneh’s goal came just before half time. The Whitecaps were under heavy pressure when Mauro Rosales got back possession of the ball in front of the Whitecaps box and found Pedro Morales with a neat forward pass. Manneh, whose marker had left him, then received the ball in plenty of space on the left from Pedro Morales. Manneh had plenty of running room and first made a move to the middle of the pitch at the top of the box before nearly slicing Seattle defender Chad Marshall in half with a vicious cut to the left. He then nutmegged Seattle keeper Frei, (just as he had done to last year’s Seattle keeper Gspurning!), to put the Whitecaps up 1-0 just on the stroke of half time.

The timing of Manneh’s goal was perfect; it was a triumphant blow to Seattle’s confidence just before the break. Furthermore, Manneh had just been gouged in the hip joint by Obafemi Martins, causing him to go down in a lot pain. Manneh scored his goal just before the swelling kicked in, which caused him to leave play at the half. New signing Kianz Frose was called on to replace him, and did a creditable job in spite of looking a bit over-awed by the occasion.

Every man on the pitch played his role for the Vancouver Whitecaps last night, which is a credit to coach Carl Robinson, who coached his best match yet for the Whitecaps. All of the players worked like dogs for Robinson to deny Seattle room to play.

Tenacious defensive midfielders Mathias Laba and Russell Teibert, who are both small in stature but looked like they were ten feet tall last night, were particularly effective and played the games of their lives for the Whitecaps. The Whitecaps played like a big net last night, pressuring and denying space as a team, rather than as individuals. Without Teibert and Laba being so effective, I have no doubt this would have been a loss rather than a win.

Seattle’s hotshot strikers Martins and Dempsey were both frustrated by the lack of space and the physical play of Laba and Teibert. They simply did not know how to cope and created precious few chances to score on the Whitecaps.

When Seattle attempted to go over Laba and Teibert with high balls, Kendall Waston was there to head away virtually every cross that came in. Waston’s performance was commanding and heroic, and the steady Andy O’Brien cleaned up anything else that came along. David Ousted had another rock steady game, catching the high balls that were his cleanly and confidently.

Pedro Morales was magnificent, tackling tenaciously and playing on even though he had leg cramps and his knee kept locking up. It was a true captain’s performance. While the Whitecaps only had 37% of the ball, Morales helped to keep the ball and calm things down at key points, giving our defence a rest from time to time.

The win meant the Vancouver Whitecaps retained the Cascadia Cup, the trophy awarded to the Cascadia team that accumulates the most points against other Cascadia rivals in MLS play.

The win meant Vancouver leap-frogged Portland by one point in the standings for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. With two games left for each team, the Whitecaps have the easier route, playing the already eliminated San Jose Earthquakes and the Colorado Rapids, while the Timbers have to play powerhouses Real Salt Lake and Dallas FC in their final two matches.

Advantage Whitecaps.

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