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Whitecaps ride Manneh hat trick to stun Sounders


Photo by Jane Gershovich/Soccer by Ives


SEATTLE – The Vancouver Whitecaps came into Seattle on Wednesday with just one win in their last seven matches, winless all-time in the Emerald City, and clinging to the playoffs by a fast-fraying thread.

Oh, and their hosts had lost at home just once all season. Seven months ago.

Maybe Kekuta Manneh was too young to know, or care, about the odds.

The teenager shredded the Seattle Sounders defense not once, not twice, but three times with youthful insouciance, lifting the Whitecaps to a 4-1 win in front of 38,833 at CenturyLink Field.

At 18, Manneh became the youngest player in league history to record a hat trick, according to MLS.

Midfielder Daigo Kobayashi assisted on two of the three goals.

“I always have this feeling about the game,” said Manneh, “that I’m going to make an impact no matter how much time I play, if I start or I come from the bench. I’m always looking to make an impact in the game.”

The win leaves Vancouver two points behind the sixth-place San Jose Earthquakes and three points behind the Colorado Rapids for the fifth and final Western Conference playoff spot. The Whitecaps’ two remaining matches are both against the Rapids.

“Well, you know it was a phenomenal game and night for Vancouver Whitecaps fans to remember for a very long time,” said Whitecaps head coach Martin Rennie. “I think we played a great game tonight.”

Vancouver (12-11-9, 45 points) opened the scoring in just the 12th minute after Kobayashi stepped into a soft clearance and headed Manneh into space along the Sounders back line. Manneh powered by Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and took just two touches to slip a left-footed shot underneath goalkeeper Michael Gspurning for his third goal of the season.

Although Seattle (15-10-6, 51 points) outplayed Vancouver over the next half hour, Camilo Sanvezzo and Manneh paired up to double the lead in the 42nd minute.

Camilo took a pass from Y. P. Lee along the right touchline and split defenders Djimi Traore and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado with a one-touch through-ball into space. With only Gspurning to beat, Manneh traced the pass into the area and toed in a right-footed shot for the 2-0 lead.

Kobayashi and Manneh paired again barely 10 minutes into the second half. A 54th-minute give-and-go ended with Kobayashi finding Manneh in a sea of space in the area. For the second time on the night, Manneh carefully timed a run onto the ball and took but a lone touch to beat Gspurning.

“We kind of joked before [the game] that you’re never exactly sure what you’re going to get with an 18-year-old,” said Rennie, “but he’s unbelievably talented and he’s someone we’re really proud of and we’re really glad to have him on our team.”

Mauro Rosales made it 3-1 in the 69th minute, volleying a deflected Osvaldo Alonso shot past goalkeeper David Ousted.

But it was far too little for the Sounders, as they missed out on a chance to regain the lead in the Supporters’ Shield race and to reclaim the Cascadia Cup—the fan-sponsored competition between the Sounders, Whitecaps, and Portland Timbers.

Worse yet, the Sounders have now given up nine goals in just two matches after falling 5-1 to the Colorado Rapids on Saturday. The Sounders are also now 0-2-2 in their last four matches after dominating MLS since May.

It wasn’t a good performance today,” said Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid. “It wasn’t a good performance at Colorado, and it’s unacceptable. We live and die together. We live and die as a team, as a staff—everybody. It’s unacceptable from us as a coaching staff, it’s unacceptable from us as a team, and it’s just unacceptable the last two performances.”

Seattle was missing Eddie Johnson and Brad Evans to national team duty, Zach Scott to suspension, and Leo Gonzalez to injury.

On the other hand, Clint Dempsey came on as an early second-half sub after missing three games with injury. And Steve Zakuani, out since April while recovering from sports hernia surgery, played the final 11 minutes.

Nigel Reo-Coker added the fourth and final goal in the 83rd minute, beating Osvaldo Alonso on a run that began near midfield and ended with a 16-yard shot that scooted under Gspurning’s hands and through the Austrian’s legs.

Looking forward, Vancouver visits the Rapids (13-9-9, 48 points) on Oct. 19, then hosts them on Oct. 27.

The Sounders have a short turnaround,  traveling to Portland (12-5-14, 50 points) to face the Timbers on Sunday.

Here are the match highlights:


  1. MLS tried to buy a championship for the Sounders by paying for Dempsey’s transfer team. Watching this team go down in flames brings joy to my heart. Serves MLS right for trying to rig the season.

  2. The problem – oddly enough – isn’t the Sounders defense. The weak underbelly of this team all year has been lack of scoring. Tied for 11th in MLS in goals scored. Overly reliant on set pieces and the occasional lob over the top. Piling up 1-0 wins. Yet, the priority of the FO has been attacking players. The dog that isn’t barking here is lack of strategy and playing style that fit those players into a durable framework, regardless of who plays on a given day. Can anyone here describe a Sounders playing style? The way one easily can for, say Portland or RSL or LA or Colorado or…?

  3. Sounders don’t deserve to be in he play offs at all. Something has gone horribly wrong with this squad and if they somehow make the play offs, they will get an embarrassing early exit….Portland and LA are going to annihilate them and FC Dallas will also beat them. Oh, and I’m a Sounders fan!

  4. Can we try to cap Manneh sometime in the next few years? I know it won’t happen soon, but maybe there’s some paperwork US soccer can start on. I’ve been waiting for a breakout game like that from this kid all year. Kid is a stud. If keeps his head he is going to be very very good. And with being “adopted” by an American family when he was fifteen, I bet there’s a good shot he’d play for us…

  5. Re. Clint, he got hurt. Some of you seem to so want him to fail in this move it’s nauseating. Further, history has shown that DPs don’t usually click right away let alone mid season transfers. As for hoping he goes back to Europe, would he leave his family behind? He’s been clear for some time his and his family’s feelings on this

    • This is utter nonsense.

      Stating a fact is stating a fact. He’s failed. It isn’t a we want or we don’t want. He’s failed.

      He hasn’t met even the most minimal expectations in any possible sense of the word. It was a stupid move for his career as a soccer player.

      You are welcome to your own opinions, but not your own facts. He has zero goals. He has zero assists. He has 5 shots on goal in a tad short of 400 minutes of game. And he had a long injury spell. Being able to play is also an important part of a player’s job, right?


      That first number is the average yearly salary of an MLS player.
      That second number is what Clint Dempsey makes in a month.

      • Again, he’s been hurt, and again, it’s typical that DPs in the little MLS struggle initially. Not nonsense tho you’re entiyled to your opinion

  6. Seattle has got serious issues that I am not sure can be fixed before the playoffs, they are just getting shredded now by extremely basic passing and movement. At least one of the goals last night was a generic through ball that absolutely tore them to pieces. They need to pick two starting CBs and roll with it. My choice would probably be Ianni and Traore but they just need to pick it and roll with it. There is no continuity between the partnership right now and it is killing them.

    • Sorry Travis, there are far more problems with this team then just defense. The entire team is in disarray that make DC United and Chivas comparable (maybe even better) than the Sounders. Even Ozzie Alonso is looking incredibly average. Forwards, D, and Goalkeeper all are looking pathetic. I’m hoping they don’t make the playoffs, only because they would get embarrassed with, likely, the earliest exit of all the participants in a blowout…..

    • Why shouldn’t they? Seattle couldn’t beat a college team right now. Sounders will be lucky to keep Portland to 5 goals. Just the biggest collection of choke artists in the MLS.

      • Frankly Id rather choke in the playoffs (sounders) than be sitting at home from the start of them (timbers). Try making them first then talk about choking

      • Losing is losing, and Sigi and the Sounders are excellent at it. The only way Sigi keeps his job is if the Sounders win the MLS Cup, and there is absolutely zero chance of that happening.

      • Losing is losing? Ironic coming from a fan whose team is yet to make the playoffs in its history. I would not say there is zero chance of Seattle winning the Cup, it looks unlikely now but in playoff structures it really only takes a bit of a hot streak and luck.

      • Hes calling out a team for failing to do much in the playoffs in only their 5th year, even though theyve made it every year. Bit of a double standard no?

      • Season ticket holder since game 1. Section 133, Row J.

        There is no defending this team right now, nor is there defending our performance in the playoffs. We shit the bed when it matters.

        Losing is losing, and we lose when it matters. And I’m sick of seeing a team loaded with talent fall apart. Time to bring in a coach in knows what to do with talented players.

        Sigi is like Tubby Smith, the college basketball coach. Tubby is just fine coaching less talented teams where he can exceed expectations. He collapsed at Kentucky. Some guys just can’t coach at programs where the expectations are high.

      • Well, there is a chance, maybe not a good chance, but there is a chance, and I, for one, choose to dream the nearly impossible dream.

    • This SOUNDERS fan is not salivating, but certainly agrees with TIMBER fans. They will destroy and embarrass my Sounders, easily.

  7. The Sounders defense really left Gspurning out to dry. However, he has got to save at least one of those. To get megged twice in one game is bad. All of the goals were saveable (I don’t think it is reasonable to expect him to save them all, but he should have saved at least one, and maybe two, that would have at least put the game in reach). The Whitecap’s keepeer made to big saves, and that was the difference. I admit I only saw the highlights, but it seems to be time to put in Hannehman.

  8. Dempsey playing last night doesn’t bother me at all. His form isn’t good enough for the US team. Maybe he and Klinsi had a little talk before hand and Klinsi told him to just concentrate on his club form.

    The Dempsey today is a ghost compared to him last year. Maybe he too needs a trip to Cambodia..

  9. I thought Clint was not called up for the USMNT because of injury and now I see he played last night for Seattle two days before the USMNT home match against Jamaica. This is the kind of stuff I expect from Timothy Chandler, not from the captain of the USMNT. This move to Seattle is looking more and more pathetic with each passing day. Quite frankly, nothing would make me happier than to see Clint move back to Europe in the January transfer window. I wonder whether Seattle/MLS would let him go.

    • Who would pay that transfer fee considering his form?
      Also, maybe you don’t know the real reason Dempsey stayed home.
      Maybe there is more going on behind the scenes.

    • Wow. I don’t even know what to say to a comment like that.

      If the Sounders don’t want Clint, there are about 18 other MLS teams that would take him. Make that 19 as new New York would too. Heck just make it 24, the future teams would gamble that he will still be that good.

      • The point of my comment was not whether or not Seattle wants Clint, but that the move seems to be a disaster for Clint as a soccer player and therefore not good for the USMNT, which benefits from an in-form Clint, who basically carried the USMNT on his broad shoulders last year. Clint is turning into Dempsey-Cakes before our very eyes and that was my major concern when he made the big money move, that it was a first-step toward retirement and goin’ fishin’ 365 days of the year. I hope to heck I am wrong and Clint can dig deep and keep the fire and the form for WC 2014. I am starting to worry he won’t pull it off. He should have waited until after WC 2014 to make the move to MLS. Can anyone seriously deny that?

      • May I humbly suggest that this may be a move whose benefits are delayed. I think he’s easing into what he knows will be a long “year.” He shows up late this summer to Seattle in preseason fitness and suffers a preseason type injury–hammy. He still has a few regular season and playoff games to work out the kinks, then maybe a Euro-loan this winter, then the beginning of next MLS season. I think his real benefit to Seattle comes after Brazil.

        For US purposes this is best judged next spring, and Seattle I think is an even longer time frame. If you judged Beckham by year 1 or even 2 it was a flop. He’s played a few games give him some time to get fit and healthy and in form.

    • In fairness to him, there can be a mismatch between when he gets cleared and when the US has to make decisions. This affected Zimmerman of the U20s. You could call him anticipating clearance but in this situation, why? It’s a meaningless game.

    • Clint’s been with Seattle for what, a month and a half?
      After being pushed out from Spurs preseason, traveling back and forth for so many WCQ’s, and then getting injured?
      Chill the eff out. The WC is nine months away.
      If Clint doesn’t produce on a loan to Europe, and then isn’t producing with MLS next year, then we can all wring our hands in disbelief.

      I feel an Ives rant coming on this on the next podcast.

      • Right?! “Cleared to play” for club does not mean “on form” for country.

        Hey, I hear Dolo might be able to stand on his bad knees again. Therefore, national team appearance, or he’s Timmy Chandler… Jeebus.

  10. This made the Support’s Shield race even more interesting.
    New York has Chicago and Houston left
    RSL has Portland and Chivas
    Seattle has Portland, Dallas, and LA
    SKC has DC and Phily
    Portland had RSL, Seattle, and Chivas

    Seattle was in the driver’s seat but this 4 game winless run cost them. RSL has an “easy” Chivas game but need at least a draw in Portland to stay alive. SKC might have the easiest schedule but two wins will put them at 58 points so they need all the other teams to drop points ( thanks to the PDX schedule at least 2 teams will).

    • SKC looked pretty ugly last night. If they end up winning the Supporter’s Shield I won’t be impressed. I would like to think the SS-winning team would play more attractive (or at least more dominating) soccer. Their defense is fine, but their offense has come off the rails lately.

  11. Ill will repeat myself again, sigi is overated as a coach and has no emotions. He needs to take a break and seattle is too much for him, from fans to DPs. Seattle needs a better goalie and coach, and not to be mean, is sigi the most chunkiest coach in the sports world. If i was seattle, i would be looking for a new coach, even if seattle makes the playoffs. On the other hand, i got timbers vs impact in mls cup.

  12. Everyone sees the trend now. Very fast young forwards slice and dice Sounders CB’s, first it was Deshorn Brown, tonight Manneh and this Sunday it will be up to Max Urruti. If the Timbers win this next Cascadia match they’ll be first in the west.

    • “If” the Timbers win? Sounders will be lucky to keep them to 6 goals. Maybe we will get lucky and Hanauer pulls Sigi off the team bus and fires him in the parking lot, ala Lane Kiffin. If I’m lucky Sigi has already been fired, and Dempsey has been shipped off to Crystal Palace for his benefit as well as the Sounders.

    • Not sure I would call Max Urruti “very fast”, but maybe Portland’s quick passing will make up for that. It should be a good game. Hopefully it stays open enough to avoid the tense, overly-physical rivalry game template.


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