Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP

MLS Snapshot: Manneh scores, assists in return to VAN; CLB get a point

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The game in 100 words (or less):Kekuta Manneh returned to Vancouver for the first time since being traded by the Vancouver Whitecaps to Columbus Crew SC on March 30, and the Gambian-born U.S. national team hopeful had himself an evening to remember in the Pacific Northwest. The 22-year-old scored one and set up another as Columbus settled for a road point despite holding a 2-1 lead late into second-half stoppage time. The man to rob Manneh and Co. of two points? Tony Tchani (plus allocation money), for whom Manneh was sent to Columbus. The symmetry of soccer. Fredy Montero bagged the game’s opening goal, but Manneh’s cross was turned home by Ola Kamara less than five minutes later. Columbus went ahead of a laser unleashed by Manneh just after the hour mark, but Tchani’s decisive goal spoiled the homecoming two minutes into stoppage time. Vancouver remain top of the Western Conference (for the time being), just as Columbus remain fourth in the Eastern Conference.

[ MORE: MLS weekend preview — TFC’s Shield chase continues in LA ]

Three Four moments that mattered

15′ — Montero gets in behind, makes it 1-0 — It wasn’t pretty (it rarely is with the Whitecaps), but it was effective. Moral of the story: get the ball to Montero, preferably with his face to goal.

19′ — Kamara pokes home at the near post for 1-1 — Manneh sets up Kamara for the early equalizer.

63′ — Manneh unleashes a rocket for 2-1 — The first hour of this game leads me to believe Manneh might have just had some extra motivation for this game, which is sad when you consider he might have been capable of performances like this all season.

90+2′ — Tchani pokes it home at the far post — Justin Meram is really, really good at a lot of things, but defending inside his own penalty area might not be one of them.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Kekuta Manneh

Goalscorers: Montero (15′), Kamara (19′), Manneh (63′), Tchani (90+2′)

MLS Snapshot: Whitecaps blow lead, come back to draw Rapids

Photo credit: @WhitecapsFC
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The game in 100 words (or less): The Vancouver Whitecaps and San Jose Earthquakes (and perhaps the LA Galaxy, should Jonathan Dos Santos turn out to be Midfield Superman) seem destined to duke it out for the sixth and final playoff place in the Western Conference this season, and the Whitecaps’ bid took a significant, unexpected hit Saturday night, as Carl Robinson’s side threw away an early lead before coming back from a goal down to draw the last-place Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Everything was going according to plan after Tony Tchani fired the visitors ahead in the 5th minute, but Axel Sjoberg and Kevin Doyle bagged goals either side of halftime to put Colorado 2-1 ahead. As woeful teams are known to do, though, the Rapids capitulated defensively with fewer than 15 minutes to go. Two points, down the toilet, for each side. The point pulls Vancouver ahead of the Portland Timbers for fifth in the West, expected to fall back to fifth, though, assuming San Jose close out Columbus Crew SC in Saturday’s nightcap.

[ MORE: Sunday’s MLS schedule is chock-full of important matchups ]

Three Four moments that mattered

5′ — Tchani slides the ball through traffic for 1-0 — Pick your spot and pass the ball to it — that’s exactly what Tchani did for the opener, even if he needed a bit of good fortune to avoid a sea of bodies.

15′ — Sjoberg, the poacher, poaches — Just a guess: Sjoberg is the tallest player in soccer history to be referred to as a “poacher,” even if only for a brief moment.

54′ — Doyle slots it past Ousted for 2-1 — Doyle gets the goal, but here’s giving Marlon Hairston the credit he deserves for the quick-thinking backheel inside the box. Champagne football (by Rapids standards, at least).

76′ — Montero is forgotten, heads home to equalize — Someone Everyone forgot to mark Montero on this Cristian Techera free kick, and that’s how you blow a late lead, and that’s how you end up at the bottom of the league table.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match:

Goalscorers: Tchani (5′), Sjoberg (15′), Doyle (54′), Montero (76′)

MLS Snapshot: FCD lose 4-0 at home; HOU fight back to draw POR

Photo credit: @WhitecapsFC
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FC Dallas 0-4 Vancouver Whitecaps

The game in 100 words (or less): Every team in MLS has one or two games each season where absolutely everything that could go wrong, does go wrong. Saturday’s 4-0 loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps appears to have been the giant hiccup of FC Dallas’ 2017 season. Oscar Pareja’s side entered the contest, which they played with 10 men for the final half-hour, first in the Western Conference; they now sit second, two points back of Sporting Kansas City. Carlos Gruezo got himself sent off in the 59th minute with FCD already 2-0 down after Bernie Ibini-Isei’s opener and the first of two goals for Fredy Montero on the night. Montero added his second eight minutes after Gruezo’s dismissal, and Nicolas Mezquida delivered the dagger seven minutes from full-time. The victory sees Vancouver climb over the Seattle Sounders and into fifth in the West, now just one point back of the Portland Timbers (with three games in hand) for fourth.

[ MORE: SKC trade Dwyer to ORL | Sigi back to LA | LAFC hire Bradley ]

Three moments that mattered

18′ — Ibini-Isei finishes far post for 1-0 — It wasn’t the best-struck ball ever, but you can’t score if you don’t shoot. (Also, Jesse Gonzalez has to do better than this.)

49′ — Montero converts from the spot for 2-0 — Montero beats Gonzalez to score his first of the night.

67′ — Montero beats Gonzalez with ages to pick his spot — If you give a poached this kind of time inside the box, he’s going to make you pay.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Fredy Montero

Goalscorers: Ibini-Isei (18′), Montero (49′ – PK, 67′), Mezquida (83′)


Houston Dynamo 2-2 Portland Timbers

The game in 100 words (or less): The Portland Timbers led twice, on the road to the Houston Dynamo, but coughed up the lead on both occasions en route to a 2-2 draw on Saturday. It’s a common theme for Portland, who’ve been their own worst enemy when defending a lead this season. Yet again, it was set-piece defending that was their undoing and cost them what would have been two massive road points. Diego Valeri scored the Timbers’ opener and assisted on their second, but saw his contributions negated thanks to goals scored by Mauro Manotas and Juan Cabezas. The point is enough, however, to keep Portland ahead of Vancouver and the Seattle Sounders (for the time being), in fourth in the West. Houston remain third, but fail to capitalize on FCD’s defeat and go second in the West; the gap to Sporting KC is now three points.

[ MORE: SKC trade Dwyer to ORL | Sigi back to LA | LAFC hire Bradley ]

Three Four moments that mattered

13′ — Valeri sidesteps a challenge, slams home for 1-0 — The speed and fluidity with which Valeri collects the ball, evades the on-rushing defender, and explodes into space before applying the finish…

37′ — Manotas pounces on a loose ball, makes it 1-1 — Jake Gleeson didn’t get enough behind his punch, and the ball wound off free atop the six-yard box, where Manotas was waiting.

43′ — Blanco slots it past Deric for 2-1 — Valeri’s cross eluded Fanendo Adi, but Blanco arrived at the perfect moment to hit it low and hard past Tyler Deric for a 2-1 lead.

81′ — Cabezas scores with his cabeza for 2-2 — Portland struggling with set-piece defending… now, where have we heard that one before?

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Diego Valeri

Goalscorers: Valeri (13′), Manotas (37′), Blanco (43′), Cabezas (81′)

MLS (late-night) roundup: Cubo bags a hat trick; MNUFC win a game!

Photo credit: Houston Dynamo / Twitter: @HoustonDynamo
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With four MLS Saturday afternoons/evenings officially in the books, only 30 more to go…

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Houston Dynamo 4-1 New York Red Bulls

It’s probably time we start calling Erick Torres by his nickname, “Cubo” (cube, as a reference to the size and shape of his head), once again. After a disastrous first season in Houston, and a subsequent loan to Cruz Azul, who decided against making the signing permanent, Torres is starting for new-old head coach Wilmer Cabrera, and the goals are flowing.

The 24-year-old entered Saturday’s game against New York with a goal in three straight games. 41 minutes into the game, the streak was extended to four. 15 minutes later, he had a brace. 35 minutes after that, Torres completed his first MLS hat trick with a sensational free kick.

As far as early-season MVP candidates go, Torres threw his name into the hat — alongside the likes of David Villa and Justin Meram — with his fourth, fifth and sixth goals of the season, after four games.

[ MORE: Saturday’s (afternoon) roundup: Villa, Schweinsteiger, Meram stellar ]


Minnesota United 4-2 Real Salt Lake

After four minutes, everything was beginning to feel all too familiar to Minnesota players, coaches and fans alike — less than 240 seconds on the clock, they were a goal down after Luke Mulholland slotted home from the top of the box. This time, though, the deficit was short-lived, as Kevin Molino headed home from close range in the 16th minute.

Then, the strangest pair of things occurred in unison: the Loons stopped leaking goals, and starting bossing the game themselves. Christian Ramirez bagged his third and fourth goals of the season, 10 minutes apart early in the second half, and the score was 3-1. Johan Venegas added a fourth, just in case, and Adrian Heath had staved off unemployment for an additional week in charge.

[ MORE: Sporting KC rookie got GOT by Vermes, teammates’ April Fools’ prank ]


Vancouver Whitecaps 4-2 LA Galaxy

A game that could have easily featured 10 goals, Vancouver’s 4-2 victory over LA had just six instead. Still, the track meet at BC Place trumped anything and everything on offer elsewhere in MLS.

Cristian Techera opened the scoring in the 19th minute, but Romain Alessandrini equalized with his first MLS goal seven minutes later. The Frenchman put LA 2-1 ahead after four more minutes.

Then, even quicker than Alessandrini’s brace had put LA in front, Fredy Montero (his first goal since returning to MLS) and Matias Laba turned a one-goal deficit into a one-goal lead, in the 66th and 67th minutes. Laba notched a brace of his own with an exclamation-point header in the 87th minute.

[ MORE: San Diego’s April Fools’ prank — Footy McFooty Face ]


D.C. United 2-1 Philadelphia Union

D.C. achieved a pair of firsts on Saturday: they scored a goal, and they won a game. Jose Guillermo Ortiz took care of the first first, and Luciano Acosta (from the penalty spot) secured the second first. C.J. Sapong pulled one back for Philly with 20 minutes to play, and so nearly made it 2-2, if not for the heroics of Bill Hamid.

Elsewhere in MLSAFTERNOON ROUNDUP

New York City FC 2-1 San Jose Earthquakes
Chicago Fire 2-2 Montreal Impact
Columbus Crew SC 2-0 Orlando City SC

Whitecaps top Red Bulls in CCL; Teen Davies nabs winner (video)

Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP
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The kid is alright, and so are the ‘Caps.

Alphonso Davies scored in the fifth minute to give the Vancouver Whitecaps a lead they would not relinquish in the second leg of a CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal against the New York Red Bulls.

[ MORE: MLS Week 1 preview ]

Vancouver joins FC Dallas as MLS teams in the semis. The Whitecaps will face Liga MX side UANL Tigres, while Dallas means Pachuca. Both Mexican sides have Americans (Omar Gonzalez is with Pachuca and Jose Francisco Torres plays for UANL).

Back to Davies: How slick is this finish from the 16-year-old (not even 17 until November!)?

The sides drew last week’s first leg 1-1 at Red Bull Arena, and Vancouver scored the only goals of Thursday’s second leg to win 3-1 on aggregate.

New striker Fredy Montero scored in the 76th minute to salt the result away.

Vancouver hosts Philadelphia on Sunday for MLS Opening Weekend, while New York heads down to Atlanta United.