CARSON, CALIFORNIA: Kekuta Manneh’s 32nd-minute goal carried Vancouver Whitecaps FC (8W-6L-2D) to a 1-0 win over LA Galaxy (5W-5L-6D) on Saturday night at the StubHub Center.
On paper, the win was worth three points like any other – an important three points too, since the teams were level coming into the match. But to Whitecaps FC, who hit two posts on the night, it meant much more.
The victory was Vancouver’s first on the road against the Galaxy in eight attempts. Previously, they were 0W-7L-0D, getting outscored 15-2 in the process.
It also brought an end to LA’s 29-match home unbeaten run and completed a sweep of the season series over the defending MLS Cup champions.
Not a bad night’s work.
Saturday’s match was Vancouver’s third in eight days, but you wouldn’t have been able to tell.
The ‘Caps looked sharp in the early going. Defensively, the backline didn’t give LA an inch. Centre backs Kendall Waston and Pa-Modou Kah ate up everything in the air, as they did all night, and the home side didn’t really threaten in the first half aside from a couple scrambles in the box.
Meanwhile, Vancouver looked dangerous going forward – particularly down the left flank. In the first 25 minutes, Manneh found some space down the left on two separate occasions but couldn’t beat Galaxy centre back Omar Gonzalez.
But the third time was the charm.
Manneh finally broke through in the 32nd minute, this time cutting to the middle and firing in a low strike from the top of the box – not unlike his goal against LA earlier this season. The 20-year-old actually started the play with an interception in midfield before playing a one-two with Octavio Rivero, who was awarded an assist on the goal.
The ‘Caps nearly made it 2-0 in the 41st minute, when Manneh played a nice little throughball to Cristian Techeraat the near post. But the Uruguayan fired his first time attempt off the post after Galaxy goalkeeper Brian Rowe got just enough of it with a diving save.
Vancouver’s wingers were involved again early in the second half. This time, Manneh got in behind thanks to a Techera throughball but Rowe was quick off his line to disrupt the play.
From there, LA started to put the pressure on, but Vancouver still created the better chances on the counter. The visitors had a pair of clear cut two-v-one rushes, including one that saw Pedro Morales hit the woodwork, but simply couldn’t find the back of the net.
It didn’t matter in the end, though, because the one goal was all Vancouver needed to make history in Carson, California. Speaking of making history, the ‘Caps now have four road wins on the season, which surpasses their total from last season and matches their previous high in MLS.
The victory puts Vancouver back in a tie with Seattle Sounders FC for the top spot in the Western Conference.
Saturday’s match was Vancouver’s second of five straight on the road. With a bye week coming up, they won’t be back in action until June 20 vs. New York Red Bulls. Meanwhile, WFC2 have a pair of matches next week, including a home date with LA Galaxy II on Sunday, June 14 at 2 p.m. PT.
Budweiser Man of the Match: Kekuta Manneh
Referee: Ricardo Salazar
32′ – VAN – Kekuta Manneh (Octavio Rivero)
Shots: LA 8 – Vancouver 7
Shots on Goal: LA 0 – Vancouver 1
Saves: LA 1 – Vancouver 0
Fouls: LA 12 – Vancouver 16
Offsides: LA 2 – Vancouver 4
Corners: LA 5 – Vancouver 0
20′ – VAN – Steven Beitashour
34′ – LA – Leonardo
12.Brian Rowe; 36.Oscar Sorto, 4.Omar Gonzalez, 22.Leonardo, 6.Baggio Husidic; 24.Stefan Ishizaki, 19.Juninho, 3.Mika Vayrynen (34.Kenney Walker 56′), 15.Ignacio Maganto (17.Sebastian Lletget 75′); 7.Robbie Keane, 16.Edson Buddle (9.Alan Gordon 60′)
Substitutes not used
31.Andrew Wolverton, 20.A.J. DeLaGarza, 21.Tommy Meyer, 25.Rafael Garcia
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1.David Ousted; 33.Steven Beitashour, 4.Kendall Waston, 44.Pa-Modou Kah, 2.Jordan Harvey; 15.Matías Laba (31.Russell Teibert 75′), 28.Gershon Koffie; 13.Cristian Techera, 77.Pedro Morales (11.Darren Mattocks 81′), 23.Kekuta Manneh (7.Mauro Rosales 75′); 29.Octavio Rivero
Substitutes not used
70.Paolo Tornaghi, 9.Nicolás Mezquida, 22.Christian Dean, 88.Robert Earnshaw