The game in 100 words (or
less more — definitely more): As far as flat, dreadful and embarrassing performances in the sport of soccer go, Sporting Kansas City’s first-half showing in a late, dramatic, unfathomable, come-from-behind 4-3 victory for the ages over the Vancouver Whitecaps is an all-timer. Kekuta Manneh, who about every fourth or fifth game has an absolute belter of a game, had an absolute belter of a game en route to a first-half brace. Then, the second half began. The Whitecaps, playing their third game in eight days — just as Sporting KC were — elected to sit deeper and soak up the pressure in an attempt to kill the game off. It worked, for about 35 minutes as the ‘Caps held a 3-1 lead into the 81st minute. Dom Dwyer tucked away a peach of a header and Paulo Nagamura, perhaps the most unlikely off heroes, bagged the game’s equalizer and winner in the 87th and 94th minutes. This game, in a word, was legendary. With the victory, Sporting (40 points) leapfrog FC Dallas and take sole possession of third place in the Western Conference with multiple games in hand on nearly every team around them. Meanwhile, the ‘Caps crushing defeat sees them slip to second in the West as the LA Galaxy now reign supreme. Three Four Five Six moments that mattered
9′ — Manneh runs circles around SKC en route to the opener — Manneh is scary-fast. Like, scary-fast. He’s also becoming a scary-good soccer player. Soni Mustivar must not know about Manneh, otherwise he wouldn’t take ill-advised touches on the ball in Manneh’s general direction. The Gambian-soon-to-be-American speedster rounded Kevin Ellis with ease and finished from a tough angle. Woo.
41′ — Manneh goes unmarked, rises up and bags his brace — Sporting’s uninspired, languid performance persisted through the entirety of the first half. After another bad midfield giveaway, Steven Beitashour provided the pinpoint cross for Manneh who was a forgotten man at the back post. Just like that, 2-0, ‘Caps.
75′ — Morales swerves a filthy free kick past Melia — Pedro Morales’ right foot is absolutely frightening, if you’re an opposing goalkeeper, of course. Just watch Tim Melia, who’s as athletic as any shot-stopper in MLS, struggle to get into the same area code of this Goal of the Week shoo-in.
81′ — Dwyer heads home to cut the deficit to one — Bonus highlight time, because this game was B-A-N-A-N-A-S. Krisztian Nemeth cross -> Dwyer header -> ball into the back of the net.
85′ — Nagamura curls home a late equalizer — Chance Myers cut inside form the left wing, cut the ball back to the top of the 18-yard box and Nagamura wrapped his right foot around the ball and curled it home inside David Ousted’s left-hand post. Sporting Park erupted.
90+4′ — Nagamura heads home the unlikely winner — Soni Mustivar’s in-swinging cross found the head of Nagamura, Sporting’s Brazilian midfield warrior, at the top of the six-yard box. Nagamura’s flicked header was never going anywhere but inside of Ousted’s right-hand post. Sporting Park could have collapsed to the ground and no one inside the building would have cared one bit.
Man of the match: Paulo Nagamura
Goalscorers: Manneh (9′, 41′), Ellis (53′), Morales (75′), Dwyer (81′), Nagamura (87′, 90+4′)