AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Kekuta Manneh added to USMNT roster for Paraguay game

Leave a comment

CHICAGO (AP) Mexican league midfielder Kekuta Manneh was added to the U.S. roster Monday for a March 27 exhibition against Paraguay at Cary, North Carolina.

The 27-year-old was born in Ghana and became a U.S. citizen two years ago while playing with Vancouver. He was traded to Columbus in March 2017 and signed with Pachuca in December.

[ MORE: Southampton momentum? ]

He is among eight players on the 23-man roster who could make their national team debuts. The others are goalkeeper Alex Bono; defenders Shaq Moore, Erik Palmer-Brown and Antonee Robinson; midfielders Marky Delgado and Tim Weah; and forward Andrija Novakovich

Four others have played just once: goalkeeper Zack Steffen, defender Cameron Carter-Vickers and midfielders Weston McKennie and Kenny Saief.

After failing to qualify for the World Cup, the U.S. will not play a competitive match until this summer.

The revised roster:

Goalkeepers: Alex Bono (Toronto), Bill Hamid (Midtjylland, Denmark), Zack Steffen (Columbus).

Defenders: Cameron Carter-Vickers (Ipswich Town, England), Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest, England), Matt Miazga (Vitesse, Netherlands), Shaq Moore (Levante, Spain), Erik Palmer-Brown (Kortrijk, Belgium), Antonee Robinson (Bolton, England), Jorge Villafana (Santos Laguna, Mexico), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle, England).

Midfielders: Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls), Marky Delgado (Toronto), Kekuta Manneh (Pachuca, Mexico), Weston McKennie (Schalke, Germany), Darlington Nagbe (Atlanta), Cristian Roldan (Seattle), Kenny Saief (Anderlecht, Belgium), Wil Trapp (Columbus), Tim Weah (Paris Saint-Germain, France).

Forwards: Andrija Novakovich (Telstar, Netherlands), Rubio Rubin (Tijuana, Mexico), Bobby Wood (Hamburg, Germany).

Manneh done in Columbus, MLS; signs for Mexico’s Pachuca

Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images
Leave a comment

One of the most electrifying (if not frustrating and short-on-end-product) players to ever come through MLS has spurned a future MLS, in favor of a move south of the United States-Mexico border.

[ MORE: Gulati discusses 2026 WC bid, next USMNT coach ]

22-year-old Kekuta Manneh, who was drafted by the Vancouver Whitecaps in 2013 at the age of 18 before being traded to Columbus Crew SC in March of this year, has signed with Liga MX side Pachuca on a free transfer, the club announced on Tuesday.

Born in The Gambia and moved to Texas at the age of 15, Manneh became an American citizen during his time in Vancouver (he maintained residency this side of the U.S.-Canada border his entire time with the team in order to do so), and was subsequently called in this year’s January camp without appearing in the post-camp friendlies.

Crew SC’s move to acquire Manneh, which cost them midfielder Tony Tchani and $300,000 in combined allocation money, netter the (perhaps) Austin, Tex.,-bound team four goals and three assists before losing the player without receiving a single dollar in transfer fees. Columbus will, however, retain Manneh’s MLS rights.

It’s been a solid 24 months since we’ve seen anything resembling Manneh’s best, let alone the potential pinned on him early in his career. The blazing speed he possesses in the open field has rarely been harnessed and used to produce the kind of end product that many thought could eventually make him an elite attacker in MLS and set him on his way for a move to Europe.

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

Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP
Leave a comment

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 Snapshots: Manneh inspires Crew SC; Philly, Atlanta win at home

AP Photo/Jay LaPrete
Leave a comment

Columbus Crew SC 4-1 Montreal Impact

Three moments that mattered

17′ — Higuain’s free kick beats Bush — Aided by a slight deflection off the top of the wall, Higuain put a free kick past Evan Bush to give the home side an early lead.

70′ — Manneh makes an immediate impact — The initial ball from Higuain is what you came here for, but the elementary defending by three Montreal defenders is what’ll keep you glued until the very end.

72′ — Manneh sets up Kamara for 3-1 — Kekuta Manneh had been on the field for all of three minutes, and he put a goal and an assist to his name. Most importantly, three points to that of Crew SC.

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

Man of the match: Federico Higuain

Goalscorers: Higuain (17′, 88′), Jackson-Hamel (19′), Manneh (70′), Kamara (72′)


 

Philadelphia Union 1-0 D.C. United

Three moments that mattered

28′ — Blake gets down to deny Harkes from distance — Ian Harkes had picked out a spot just inside the far post, but Andre Blake was well up to the task of denying DCU’s homegrown rookie.

31′ — Picault slams Bedoya’s cross — Alejandro Bedoya’s cross has some serious loft on it, which it makes it so tough to keep the ensuing shot low and to hit it with such power. Fantastic finish from Picault.

70′ — Blake stone-walls Neagle from the spot — It’s a pretty poor penalty from Lamar Neagle, but it’s a massive moment so badly needed by Andre Blake who’s been well off his own standard this season. Don’t be surprised if it’s a season-turning save for the talented Jamaican.

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

Man of the match: Andre Blake

Goalscorers: Picault (31′)


 

Atlanta United 1-0 Colorado Rapids

Three One moment that mattered

67′ — Martinez turns and beats Howard for the game’s only goal — You can’t give Josef Martinez this kind of space, and this kind of time, around the six-yard box. He’s shown us seven times already this season (in just seven games) how deadly he is from there.

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

Man of the match: Josef Martinez

Goalscorers: Martinez (67′)

Columbus Crew acquires Kekuta Manneh from Vancouver Whitecaps

Getty Images
Leave a comment

A blockbuster trade came down on Thursday as Columbus snatched Kekuta Manneh from the Vancouver Whitecaps.

The Crew sent back longtime Columbus midfielder Tony Tchani plus $225,000 in Targeted Allocation Money and $75,000 in General Allocation Money.

Columbus is already tops in the Eastern Conference four matches into the season, with seven goals scored, the third-most in Major League Soccer. Still, they felt the opportunity to acquire the 22-year-old Ghanan was too good to pass up.

Manneh joined Vancouver in 2013 via the MLS SuperDraft as a Generation Adidas player. He was selected fourth overall by the Whitecaps, and has since made 101 league appearances, scoring 22 goals and assisting 12 more.

“We take pride in our identity as an attacking team, so we are excited to announce the addition of Kekuta Manneh, one of the most dynamic, young, offensive players in Major League Soccer and a new addition to the US Soccer national team program,” said Crew SC head coach Gregg Berhalter in a team statement. “Kekuta complements the existing corps of attacking players on our roster and we expect him to play an important role with the club this season.”

Manneh joins a Crew attack headed by Ola Kamara, who owns three goals already this season, plus the creative forces of Federico Higuain and U.S. international Ethan Finlay.

Going the other way is two-way midfielder Tchani, who has been with the Crew since 2011, amassing 130 appearances for the club. Tchani penned a goodbye posted on social media, which read, “It was an incredible journey of ups and downs and I want to say THANK YOU to the Columbus Crew organization, fans, friends, and family (Amazazi, AJ and Weis) that I made over my last 5 years plus here.”