You couldn’t have written a better script

By Frank Cucca

Tony Tchani and Kekuta Manneh, who were traded for each other in an early-season blockbuster, both scored against their former clubs as Vancouver Whitecaps FC (13W-9L-6D) and Columbus Crew SC (13W-12L-5D) played to a thrilling 2-2 draw on Saturday afternoon at BC Place. It was a battle between two of Major League Soccer’s hottest teams, and it did not disappoint. Manneh led the way for Columbus with a goal and an assist, while Fredy Montero scored his team-leading 12th goal of the season for the Western Conference-leading ‘Caps before setting up Tchani’s stoppage-time equalizer. The draw extends both teams’ unbeaten run to six matches. Montero opened the scoring in the 15th minute, finishing from close range after some fine interplay between Aly Ghazal, Cristian Techera, and Yordy Reyna in midfield. The play actually started with Ghazal winning a second ball off a David Ousted goal kick. Then, Reyna played the ball back to Techera before flicking the Uruguayan’s through ball in behind to Montero. Vancouver’s early lead didn’t last long. Columbus equalized just four minutes later through Ola Kamara, who directed in a cross from Manneh at the near post. Then, after Reyna hit the post on a cheeky spin-o-rama early in the second half, Manneh found the back of the net himself in the 63rd minute with a heavy 25-yard strike into the side netting. But the ‘Caps did not go down lightly. Carl Robinson’s men created a number of chances in the dying stages, including a Reyna header off the post, before eventually drawing the game level in stoppage time. In the build-up, Jake Nerwinski played a long ball into the box that landed at Montero’s feet after a fantastic dummy from Kendall Waston. Montero then found Tchani at the back post and the Cameroonian midfielder banged in his fourth goal of the season to help the ‘Caps earn a share of the spoils. Saturday was Vancouver’s third straight home match in eight days after a pair of wins over Real Salt Lake and Minnesota United FC. They conclude their four-match home stand next Saturday, September 23 against Colorado Rapids (7 p.m. PT at BC Place tickets still available).

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