CARSON, Calif. – Chivas USA were nine minutes from an improbable victory on Sunday, despite playing more than an hour down a man. But second-half substitute Kekuta Manneh rescued a point for the Vancouver Whitecaps in the 80th minute as the teams settled for a 1-1 draw at StubHub Center on a hot spring afternoon in Southern California.
The hosts went down to 10 men in just the 13th minute after midfielder Agustín Pelletieri drew a red card for a harsh challenge on Pedro Morales, but the Goats still outplayed the 'Caps and kept them on their back heels.
Chivas took the lead on the stroke of halftime when Erick Torres fired a shot on the edge of the box that deflected off Whitecaps captain Jay DeMerit on its way towards goal, catching goalkeeper David Ousted out of position and unable to stop it.
The Goats remained the aggressors for most of the match until Vancouver head coach Carl Robinson made the substitution on the hour mark that gave his side the boost it needed. In the 81st minute, Manneh slotted home Darren Mattocks’ cross from the left wing to give the Whitecaps a share of the points.
Pelletieri was shown a straight red by referee Ramón Hernández early in the first half for a late challenge on Morales in the center circle in which the Argentine came down on the Chilean Designated Player's ankle. But despite being up a man, Vancouver didn't take the initiative, failing to register a shot and seldom even getting into Chivas’ box with the ball in the first 45.
After taking the lead in the 45th minute, Chivas opted to extend the advantage in the second half and nearly caught the visitors on several occasions. Torres had a breakaway off a missed Vancouver header in the 51st minute, and slotted it to the left to Leandro Barrera for the finish, but Ousted was able to push the Argentine’s tame shot out of bounds.
Manneh's insertion for the ineffective Nigel Reo-Coker changed the visitors' outlook immediately. The speedy Gambian had his first chance in the 70th minute when he nutmegged Eric Avila on the left wing and fired a shot to the far post that forced a diving save from Chivas' Dan Kennedy.
Five minutes later, Manneh had another dangerous chance, slipping as he sent a curled shot that went just over the far corner of the goal. And then in the 80th, he found the payoff that kept the Whitecaps unbeaten on the young season.
With the point, Chivas USA improve to 1-0-1, and hit the road for the first time this season to take on FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium on March 23. Vancouver, also at 1-0-1, stay on the road, facing the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Kekuta Manneh (VAN)||In half an hour, second-year stud was responsible for half of Vancouver's shots – and both they put on target.|
|2||Mauro Rosales (CHV)||Fantastic shift by Argentine veteran, whose heads-up play forced turnover, then assisted, on Torres' goal.|
|3||Tommy McNamara (CHV)||Fear the mullet! Rookie forward forced to play de facto holding mid after Pelletieri's red, and his long run back to slide tackle Sebastián Fernández in the box in the 53rd was among his highlights.|