April 19, 2014, VANCOUVER, BC (ISN) – Second-half goals from Darren Mattocks and Kekuta Manneh helped Vancouver Whitecaps FC (2W-2L-3D) secure a hard-fought 2-2 draw with LA Galaxy (2W-1L-2D) Saturday afternoon at BC Place.
A fourth straight sold-out crowd at BC Place was treated to a thrilling second half in a spirited rematch between the Western Conference rivals. Led by a goal and assist from Mattocks, the Budweiser Man of the Match, and a spectacular Manneh strike in the 86th minute, the ‘Caps came back from two separate one-goal deficits to claim a share of the spoils.
Mattocks, who made his career-high seventh straight MLS regular season start, now leads Whitecaps FC with three assists on the season. He and Manneh are also now second to only Kenny Miller with two goals apiece for the ‘Caps.
As he’s done the last two home matches, Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson went with a 4-4-2 diamond midfield formation. The Welshman made two personnel changes to his starting lineup after last weekend’s 1-0 loss to the Galaxy, as Miller and Matias Laba drew back into the squad in place of Sebastian Fernandez and Manneh.
It didn’t take long for the ‘Caps and Galaxy to renew acquaintances on Saturday, as centre back Andy O’Brien was shown a yellow card less than a minute into the match for what appeared to be a well-timed sliding tackle on Robbie Keane.
Keane and the Galaxy looked lively early on, forcing Whitecaps FC goalkeeper David Ousted into action. Ousted made his team-high 20th straight start for the ‘Caps – a day after his wife gave birth to twin boys.
The Dane’s best first-half stop came in the seventh minute, when he alertly left his line and stymied a clever Keane flick from a few yards inside the 18-yard box.
Although the Galaxy looked well-organized throughout the first 45 minutes, Vancouver had their chances. In the 22nd minute, midfielder Pedro Morales released Miller down the left flank after some nifty footwork in midfield. Then, the Scotsman whipped a low right-footed cross into the box, but it just eluded a lunging Mattocks.
The ‘Caps had another quality chance in the 32nd minute, when an extended spell of possession led to a scramble in the Galaxy box. Eventually, the ball landed to Morales, whose first-time attempt was deflected towards goal by Miller but a sprawling Jaime Penedo made a fantastic save to keep things level.
And the Galaxy took advantage just a few minutes later. Midfielder Stefan Ishizaki struck first on 38 minutes, heading in a ball in front of goal to give the visitors a 1-0 lead at the break.
Looking to inject some life into his side’s attack, Robinson brought on Manneh and Johnny Leveron at halftime, and then Erik Hurtado in the 65th minute. And the changes had the desired effect.
Playing centrally atop a new 4-3-3 formation, Manneh began to open up the Galaxy back line with his speed and movement. And the ‘Caps finally found their equalizer in the 67th minute.
After fullback Steven Beitashour played a ball down the right flank, Mattocks shouldered Leonardo off the ball, poked it past a sprawling Penedo, and fired it into the open net from just inside the endline.
The lead would last only 10 minutes. LA regained the advantage in the 77th minute, as Keane tapped home a headed pass from substitute Rob Friend to score his fourth goal in as many matches and give the visiting Galaxy a 2-1 lead.
But Vancouver would not go away, and they were rewarded for their persistence in the 86th minute. After a receiving a short pass from Mattocks, a lively Manneh cut into the middle and launched a perfect 20-yard strike into the bottom right corner of the goal, bringing the sold-out BC Place crowd to its feet in the process.
The three minutes of added time were filled with action at both sides of the pitch – a lunging Manneh nearly finished off a left-footed Beitashour cross before Ousted made a goaline save off a Friend header – but no more goals would come as the match ended in an entertaining 2-2 draw.
The ‘Caps are in for another tough test next weekend when they visit an always tough Real Salt Lake side on Saturday, April 26 at Rio Tinto Stadium. Then, the Blue and White return to BC Place for the club’s 40th anniversary match on May 3 against San Jose Earthquakes.
Stat of the Game
Vancouver’s 17 shot attempts were the most they’ve had in a single match this season. Morales and Miller led Whitecaps FC with five shots apiece.
Budweiser Man of the Match: Darren Mattocks
Referee: Silviu Petrescu
38′ – LA – Stefan Ishizaki (Baggio Husidic, Dan Gargan)
67′ – VAN – Darren Mattocks (Erik Hurtado, Steven Beitashour)
77′ – LA – Robbie Keane (Rob Friend, Omar Gonzalez)
86′ – VAN – Kekuta Manneh (Darren Mattocks)
Shots: Vancouver 17 – LA 14
Shots on Goal: Vancouver 5 – LA 6
Saves: Vancouver 4 – LA 3
Fouls: Vancouver 13 – LA 10
Offsides: Vancouver 1 – LA 1
Corners: Vancouver 4 – LA 2
1′ – VAN – Andy O’Brien
34′ – LA – Baggio Husidic
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1.David Ousted; 33.Steven Beitashour, 40.Andy O’Brien (16.Johnny Leveron 45′), 6.Jay DeMerit, 2.Jordan Harvey; 28.Gershon Koffie, 15.Matías Laba, 77.Pedro Morales (19.Erik Hurtado 65′), 31.Russell Teibert (23.Kekuta Manneh ’45); 11.Darren Mattocks, 9.Kenny Miller
Substitutes not used
70.Paolo Tornaghi, 7.Sebastian Fernandez, 20.Nigel Reo-Coker, 29.Nicolas Mezquida
18.Jaime Penedo; 33.Dan Gargan, 4.Omar Gonzalez, 22.Leonardo, 20.A.J. DeLagarza; 8.Marcelo Sarvas, 19.Juninho, 24.Stefan Ishizaki (16.Rob Friend 72′), 6.Baggio Husidic (11.Gyasi Zardes 72′); 7.Robbie Keane, 10.Landon Donovan
Substitutes not used
1.Brian Perk, 9.Samuel Rosa, 21.Tommy Meyer, 28.Kofi Opare, 34.Kenny Walker