TORONTO, ON – What a week it’s been for Vancouver Whitecaps FC (6W-5L-2D)
A win over the defending MLS Cup champions, a spectacular bicycle kick midweek, and now an absolutely thrilling 4-3 victory over rival Toronto FC (4W-4L-2D) on Saturday at BMO Field.
It was Vancouver’s first-ever MLS win at BMO. And it had just about everything.
Budweiser Man of the Match Kekuta Manneh and reigning MLS MVP Sebastian Giovinco each had two goals and an assist, David Ousted stopped a penalty kick, and hometown boy Fraser Aird was shown a red card.
And those are just the Coles Notes.
In the end, Pedro Morales’s 72nd-minute goal was the eventual winner as Whitecaps FC held on for their third straight victory in this Canadian classic.
Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson made four changes to the starting lineup he used a week ago against Portland and midweek against Chicago.
Notably, Erik Hurtado made his first start of the season up top in a new-look formation, replacing the injured Masato Kudo. Also drawing into the lineup were Manneh, who sat in behind Hurtado, Russell Teibert, and centre back Pa-Modou Kah, who replaced the suspended Kendall Waston.
The changes, which included a switch to the left wing for Morales, looked like a stroke of genius early. Vancouver got off to a dream start, opening the scoring in the 12th minute through Manneh.
The 21-year-old speedster picked off an errant pass in midfield, darted past the TFC defence, and calmly finished with his left foot to put Whitecaps FC ahead.
Just six minutes later, the ‘Caps doubled their lead. And Manneh was involved again.
This time, he flicked on a long ball to Hurtado, who then released Manneh into a box with a well-taken throughball. TFC keeper Clint Irwin made the save this time, but Christian Bolaños banged in the rebound – his fourth goal in five games – to give Vancouver a two-goal advantage.
From there, the home side started to come on.
And after a pair of brilliant saves from Ousted, denying a low Giovinco strike with his fingertips and diving to his left to stop an Altidore penalty, TFC finally got on the board in the 38th minute.
It was Giovinco. Who else?
The diminutive Italian controlled a long ball over the top with a sublime touch and turn before just beating Ousted from close range. Giovinco added his second in the 66th minute, finishing from close range once again after a throughball from Michael Bradley to bring the game level.
But the ‘Caps did not go away lightly.
Manneh and Morales regained the lead for Vancouver with a pair of fantastic goals in the 70th and 72nd minutes. Manneh tiptoed past a pair of Toronto FC defenders into the box before finishing with his left foot, while Morales curled a beauty around Damien Perquis and a diving Irwin.
After Aird was shown a second yellow, Toronto made it interesting – to say the least – with an 80th-minute goal from Drew Moor off a Giovinco corner. And they came on strong late, but Ousted and his backline came up with some timely saves and blocks to hold on for the victory.
The ‘Caps will look to extend their winning streak to four matches next Sunday when they visit Portland at Providence Park as part of MLS Rivalry Week (1:30 p.m. PT on TSN1).
Budweiser Man of the Match: Kekuta Manneh
Referee: Robert Sibiga
12’ – VAN – Kekuta Manneh
18’ – VAN – Christian Bolaños
37’ – TOR – Sebastian Giovinco (Damien Perquis)
66’ – TOR – Sebastian Giovinco (Michael Bradley)
70’ – VAN – Kekuta Manneh (Pedro Morales)
72’ – VAN – Pedro Morales (Kekuta Manneh)
80’ – TOR – Drew Moor (Sebastian Giovinco)
Possession: Toronto 61.2% – Vancouver 38.8%
Shots: Toronto 21 – Vancouver 8
Shots on Goal: Toronto 10 – Vancouver 6
Saves: Toronto 2 – Vancouver 7
Fouls: Toronto 10 – Vancouver 13
Offsides: Toronto 1 – Vancouver 2
Corners: Toronto 11 – Vancouver 0
35’ – VAN – Pa-Modou Kah
63’ – VAN – Fraser Aird
76’ – VAN – Fraser Aird
89’ – VAN – Blas Pérez
90’ + 5’ – TOR – Sebastian Giovinco
76’ – VAN – Fraser Aird
1.Clint Irwin; 33.Steven Beitashour, 24.Damien Perquis (19.Daniel Lovitz 78’), 3.Drew Moor, 2.Justin Morrow; 21.Jonathan Osorio (14.Jay Chapman 80’), 4.Michael Bradley ©, 9.Tsubasa Endoh, 7.Will Johnson; 17.Jozy Altidore (11.Mo Babouli 38’), 10.Sebastian Giovinco
Substitutes not used
40.Quillan Roberts, 5.Ashtone Morgan, 15.Eriq Zavaleta, 23.Josh Williams
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1.David Ousted; 8.Fraser Aird, 26.Tim Parker, 44.Pa-Modou Kah, 2.Jordan Harvey; 7.Christian Bolaños, 15.Matías Laba, 31.Russell Teibert, 77.Pedro Morales © (17.Andrew Jacobson 89’); 19.Erik Hurtado (27.Blas Pérez 85’), 23.Kekuta Manneh (6.Jordan Smith 78’)
Substitutes not used
70.Paolo Tornaghi, 3.Sam Adekugbe, 11.Nicolás Mezquida, 13.Cristian Techera
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