It was a big night for Kekuta Manneh as he scored not just his first professional hat trick but also the Whitecaps first hat trick in the MLS. Interestingly, his second goal has elements that seem similar to his first but it’s a much more sophisticated goal that combines laziness from an outside back, fantastic movement off the ball by Sanvezzo followed by a sublime layoff from him. A lack of tracking Manneh’s run also comes into play.
The build up starts when Y.P. Lee picks up a loose ball and gets some time and space to look around.
The Sounders are essentially caught in transition and you can see their back four is pretty ragged with the right back (top of picture) walking despite being too separated from his centre back who is about to get pulled further to his left by a run by Sanvezzo. The other centre back, Djimi Traore, is in decent shape goal side of Manneh and tracking him while being able to see the ball. The left back is in a position to close down Nigel Reo-Coker if he gets the ball from Lee but the real problem is that Lee has time on the ball to play forward and Hurtado is isolated with Sanvezzo with no cover.
The Whitecaps do two things to perfection in the next second or two. Sanvezzo makes a very determined run that pulls Hurtado further from the centre of the field and Lee finds him with a pass that not only splits three Sounders players but also engages Traore. He turns to track the ball and in the process gaps away from Manneh who now heads to the space Sanvezzo has created for him with his run.
Note that Sanvezzo’s run and Lee’s pass to him have occupied both central defenders while Manneh drifts to the middle and the right back is still lost in space in no position to help. He should have recognized this danger when Lee got possession and immediately started tracking towards the middle seeing that Traore had stepped to Manneh leaving Hurtado 1v1 with Sanvezzo. He hasn’t so…
The screen shot doesn’t do it justice but while Sanvezzo’s scissor kick three days previous against Portland had genius stamped all over it, his awareness of Manneh’s run into the vacated space and the very delicate pass cut back against the way he was running into his path was also genius.
Manneh is released again with the right back hopelessly out of position, Hurtado trying to recover from being pulled across the field by Sanvezzo and Traore still recovering from being hypnotized by Lee’s pass.
Lastly, here’s a better view of Sanvezzo’s cutback into the path of Manneh.
- 20% Sounders right back for not recognizing the danger and tucking in
- 20% Traore for ball watching and allowing Manneh to slip off his shoulder into a dangerous, central space
- 40% Sanvezzo for the brilliant run to open up the huge space for Manneh and then having the touch to release him through to goal
- 20% Manneh for recognizing the space and making the most of his chance.