Tchani’s goal in stop­page time costs Crew road win

The Columbus Dispatch - - Sports - By An­drew Erick­son

Dis­cussing his exit in March from the Van­cou­ver White­caps last week, Crew SC mid­fielder Kekuta Man­neh might have told a white lie.

He said he would try to treat the game Satur­day night against Van­cou­ver as he would any other road game, even though it would come against the team that drafted him as a teenager in 2013.

Man­neh made things dif­fi­cult for the White­caps, who traded him for mid­fielder Tony Tchani and $300,000 in al­lo­ca­tion money. But even though the 22-year-old pro­vided the Crew a goal and an as­sist, in the end he was over­shad­owed by his coun­ter­part in the trade.

Tchani scored from close range in the sec­ond minute of sec­ond-half stop­page time, mak­ing a 2-2 tie out of what was min­utes away from be­ing a Crew win.

It was a missed op­por­tu­nity, but there will be a few more op­por­tu­ni­ties

for the Crew (13-12-5), which next plays backto-back home games.

“I think it was a good per­for­mance. Hav­ing said that, we’re dis­ap­pointed not to get all three (stand­ings points for a win),” coach Gregg Ber­hal­ter said. “That last goal was un­for­tu­nate, but the guys bat­tled well.”

The tie ex­tended the Crew’s un­beaten streak to six games, its long­est in five years.

Man­neh took the lane the White­caps gave him in the 63rd minute, charg­ing up the mid­dle of the field be­fore blast­ing a shot in­side the left post from a few yards out­side the box to break a 1-1 tie.

“It was, ‘You’re im­por­tant to this team, and let’s show it,’” Ber­hal­ter said of a pregame talk with Man­neh. “He was mo­ti­vated, and I think he’s a gamechanger in this league, an out­stand­ing player. That’s why we made the move for him.”

Man­neh’s mo­ti­va­tion was clear. As for the rest of the team, it came from what Ber­hal­ter said was pregame talk from the White­caps about the Crew not be­ing tough.

“What came back to us was that we can’t win du­els, that we’re soft, and it mo­ti­vated guys,” Ber­hal­ter said. “Even though we had a much smaller lineup than them, we were fight­ing on ev­ery­thing. We let the soc­cer speak for it­self.”

Yordy Reyna hit the post twice in the sec­ond half for the White­caps (13-9-6), the lat­ter com­ing on a header in the 81st minute. Van­cou­ver fi­nally tied the

Shots: Colum­bus 8-7—15; Van­cou­ver 2-11—13. Shots on goal: Colum­bus 4-4—8; Van­cou­ver 1-3—4. Saves: Colum­bus, St­ef­fen 0-2—2; Van­cou­ver, Ousted 3-3—6. Fouls: Colum­bus 7-5—12,

score in stop­page time to ex­tend its un­beaten streak to six games.

The Crew en­tered the game 0-7-0 when al­low­ing op­po­nents to

[DAR­RYL DYCK/THE CANA­DIAN PRESS]

The Crew’s Ola Ka­mara shows his frus­tra­tion af­ter miss­ing a scor­ing chance dur­ing the first half.

CANA­DIAN PRESS] [DAR­RYL DYCK/THE

The Crew’s Kekuta Man­neh, left, is pres­sured by the White­caps’ Aly Ghazal.

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