How They Scored: A Tale of Two Interceptions

Breaking down the goals from last week's draw.

Goal 1 - Cubo Torres Sends in a Deflection: 45", 1-0 Chivas

With halftime quickly approaching and 10-man Chivas USA winning the possession battle in the final minutes of the first half, Vancouver Whitecaps' defensive mid Nigel Reo-Coker finds himself in space and elects to rush a short pass up the middle to Pedro Morales. A charging Mauro Rosales quickly cuts inside to intercept the attempt and initiates a quick counter. With the Vancouver full backs pushed up, Rosales finds himself in the advantageous situation of working with Cubo Torres against Vancouver's two center Backs: Jay DeMerit and Andy O'Brien.

DeMerit chooses to pressure the attack and almost succeeds on snapping up a heavy touch by Rosales, but Mauro sends a ball over to Cubo and proceeds to continue his run down the middle. At this point, I genuinely thought the best decision Cubo could've made was if returned the pass to Rosales in the box, but Cubo instead stops his run, cuts towards the middle (and his strong foot), and launches a shot that deflects off of DeMerit for a fortunate goal.

It was the same type of quick counter off an interception that the Whitecaps used to dominate NYRB in their opener.

Question: If Cubo's shot misses goal, does the ref reward Rosales with a penalty as he's taken down in the box by DeMerit? My guess is yes.

Goal 2 –Vancouver Quick Counters, Manneh equalizes 81", 1-1

The ball is sent up by the Vancouver defense and RB Eric Avila recovers possession. Avila attempts to complete a 1-2 pass over to DM Dani Fragoso – who had entered only moments prior – but Fragoso's weak first touch results in the ball being intercepted by Darren Mattocks who gathers the ball and proceeds to knock Avila off his feet with an absolutely filthy juke. Avila, who at this time is backpedaling and off-balance falls down and the speedy Mattocks quickly dribbles past him. Fragoso backtracks and does a decent job of containing Mattocks to the outside, but Mattocks sends a beautiful backward angled low cross to a trailing Manneh for the right-footed equalizer into the bottom right corner of the net.

On second thought, the ball may have been actually deflected by Fragoso's slide tackle.

So who was marking Manneh and how did he get so open? At the start of the counter, Burling had tracked back to contain Mattocks, leaving Manneh in open space. If you wanna be picky, you could say that Bocanegra should've been responsible for marking Manneh, but 1.)the front of goal was completely empty so he couldn't abandon that space, 2. Mattocks' made it seem like he was sending a cross towards goal, and 3.) quick counters on this end of the field tend to leave the defense in disarray and organization goes out the window. Bocanegra had to make a split decision and chose to stay in the middle, while Mattocks and Manneh took advantage of that open space. Great play on their part.

On the positive, LB Tony Lochhead sprints back and effectively covers his man at the far post (the same spot Benji Joya took advantage in week 1). Good job on Lochhead's part.

It's also important to note that this equalizer was more of a result of an offensive miscue (Fragoso's bad first touch) than a defensive blunder. As a result, if that Fragoso pass rolls a few inches further, CUSA potentially completes the unthinkable and takes away 3 points from this mess.

What do you think? Leave a comment below!

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