Home MLS Vancouver Whitecaps Hat trick is like Manneh from heaven for the Whitecaps

Hat trick is like Manneh from heaven for the Whitecaps

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Three goals from rookie Kekuta Manneh kept the Vancouver Whitecaps in the hunt for a spot in the MLS Cup playoffs, as the visitors claimed a surprising 4-1 win over the Seattle Sounders at CenturyLink Field Wednesday night.

Mauro Rosales gave the Sounders a bit of hope by bringing the score to 3-1 in the 69th minute, before Nigel Reo-Coker scored a stinker of a goal in the 82nd minute past Michael Gspurning in a play the goalkeeper will surely have nightmares about.

The hat-trick is the first such feat of a Whitecap in the Major League Soccer era and, more significantly, the 18-year-old Manneh is the youngest player in league history to score three times in a game.

The result propels Vancouver to 45 points, three back of the Los Angeles Galaxy, who sits in the fifth and final Western Conference playoff spot.

Manneh opened the scoring 12 minutes in, getting on the end of a headed pass from Daigo Kobayashi. Gspurning got a touch on the Gambian’s strike, but not enough, as the ball bounced into his goal.

A minute prior, David Ousted stopped Lamar Neagle on a breakaway, after the forward broke in alone off a David Estrada throw-in.

The 18-year-old Manneh doubled his tally in the 42nd minute, breaking through alone after Camilo sent him through from a well-weighted Lee Young-Pyo through ball, and then completed the hat-trick in the 54th minute, playing a one-two with Kobayashi before scoring through the legs of Gspurning.

“I always have this feeling, every game, that I’m going to make an impact,” Manneh told reporters following the game. “No matter how much time I play — if I start or come off the bench — I’m always looking to make an impact on the game.”

Nigel Reo-Coker added to Seattle’s misery by scoring an 82nd-minute effort with which Gspurning should have done better . The Englishman ran with the ball from his own half before shooting from the right at an acute angle and seeing the ball beat the Sounders’ netminder in one Gspurning will surely want back.

“It was a great team performance,” Reo-Coker said. “I think that’s the best we’ve played all season for a full 90 minutes. It wasn’t about individuals. It wasn’t a moment of individual brilliance. It was a whole team effort from start to finish and I just wanted to say, Kekuta I thought was outstanding.

“For his age, to come into a game like that and score a hattrick, is fantastic.”

Rosales scored Seattle’s lone goal in the 69th minute, blasting home a rebound from an Osvaldo Alonso shot in the area.

Neagle once again forced Ousted into action in the 28th minute, turning his marker before blasting a shot from about 25 yards out which forced the Danish ‘keeper to parry over his bar.

Ousted failed to deal with a Rosales free kick on 35 minutes, dropping it into the area, but Neagle got under the ball, and it dropped to Obafemi Martins, who headed over the goal from close range under pressure.

Patrick Ianni came close in the 66th minute, heading a corner against the uprights, before the ball was cleared to safety.

In the 71st, Rosales found DeAndre Yedlin making a streaking run down the right. The fullback went in alone on Ousted but the Danish goalkeeper came out well to cut down the angle and stopped the shot.

The Whitecaps, now 12-11-9, have over a week off before travelling to Colorado to face the Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on October 19.

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