Sports Soccer

Manneh starting to make Whitecaps lineup choices tough 0

By Hosea Cheung, 24 hours Vancouver

Kekuta Manneh scored again as a substitute but could he be making his second start of the season on Saturday? (REUTERS)

Kekuta Manneh scored again as a substitute but could he be making his second start of the season on Saturday? (REUTERS)

To start Kekuta Manneh or not to start Kekuta Manneh, that is the question.

Vancouver Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson certainly struggled with that decision last Saturday and, well, who knows if the result would have been any different if he did inject the sophomore striker from the get-go instead of bringing him on at the half.

Either way, a week after making his first start of the season, Manneh came on as a substitute this time around to make an impact by scoring the second equalizer against the Los Angeles Galaxy as the Whitecaps pulled off a 2-2 draw at BC Place. It's the 19-year-old Gambian's second goal of the season — a beauty of a strike from 20 yards out.

There's no denying the youngster's ability to open up the pitch with his pace and his willingness to shoot, which along with fellow speedster Erik Hurtado, caused problems for Galaxy defenders.

"I made a tactical switch to try to inject a little bit of life with the kid coming on, Kekuta, who I toyed with the idea of playing with from the start," Robinson said after the game. “Maybe me, being a young head coach, I thought is it better to be in the game and then unleash the youngin, but I made the decision at halftime."

It paid off, but then again, maybe having Manneh on from the start could have provided a different result as Vancouver is winless in three straight games.

They look to pick up their first road victory this Saturday against Real Salt Lake. And whether or not Manneh gets the start remains to be seen — not that he's too concerned about it.

“Really, it will come. Obviously, young players will be in and out of the starting 11, so it wasn’t that frustrating," he said. "It’s OK, and you take it in a different way. It was a coach’s decision, but I’m pretty happy with coming off the bench and scoring that goal.”



ming off the bench and scoring that goal.”


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