Columbus Crew SC came close to full points on their long road trip to the Canadian Pacific. The Black & Gold would do well to fight back after an early deficit to grab a lead through a Kekuta Manneh goal, but see it slip away later as fellow trade partner Tony Tchani would ensure the points were split after the 2-2 tie.
It was a defensive stumble that gave the lead to the home side. Lalas Abubakar struggled with a ball played through the Crew SC defense. It was quickly picked up by Fredy Montero who had a clear look at goal and made it count in the 15th minute.
The Whitecaps goal appeared to wake the visitors up as Crew SC pushed forward quickly. It didn’t take long to create a chance that the skillful Ola Kamara finished. Manneh danced on the left wing and created a sliver of space. His rifled cross was clipped by the forward in the 19th minute.
Both sides would find half chances through the first half, but weren’t able to break through with quality to grab the go ahead goal. The game would open up in the second half with both teams getting their chances.
The Whitecaps would nearly score out of the locker room as Jordy Reyna would take the ball into the Crew SC box, turn Abubakar and ring the post.
Columbus would get the go ahead goal though as the game opened up. Manneh pressed into the final third and his former teammates backed off, respecting his speed. That’s all the winger would need as he launched a rocket that left goalkeeper David Ousted no chance. Crew SC had the lead on the road with 27 minutes left.
Crew SC wouldn’t be able to hold it. Vancouver increasingly looked to find the tying goal to get a point vital to their playoff hopes. The Columbus defense had been up to the task until the 92nd minute. The ball was lumped into the box and Montero sent a ball across the Crew SC box. The former Columbus midfielder clipped the ball to tie the game.
Where are they: Columbus moves to 13-12-5 on the season for 44 points. They remain fourth in the Eastern Conference with New York Red Bulls and Atlanta United trailing with three games in hand. The Whitecaps move to 13-9-6. Their 45 points puts them first in the Western Conference.
Trading Statements: Manneh enjoyed four and a half seasons in Vancouver while Tchani revived his career in his six seasons in Black & Gold. Both players were able to make statements to their old teams after they scored key goals. Manneh’s was a screamer from distance. It’s stunning nature was the emphasis. Tchani’s lacked in beauty, but it made up in timeliness.
When it was over: Sadly for Crew SC, that was in the 92nd minute when Tony Tchani poked the ball into the net to tie the game. Columbus had fought gamely after giving up an early goal to be in the winning position thanks to Kamara and Manneh’s efforts. A tie on the road is supposed to be good, but it’s a frustrating end after so many players played strongly down the stretch.
What’s next: Crew SC will come back to Columbus to face off against fellow playoff chasers New York Red Bulls on Saturday, September 23rd at 7:30 PM. It’s another chance to all but sew up