Columbus Crew SC played host to the Montreal Impact in a crucial Eastern Conference showdown. It was the home team that got the last laugh as they dismantled the visitors by a score of 4-1. Stars Kekuta Manneh and Federico Higuain helped lift the Black and Gold to victory, as they stay above the playoff line.
After the game, head coach and sporting director Gregg Berhalter gave his post-game thoughts to the media, as well as Sub of The Year (according to teammate Justin Meram) Kekuta Manneh
Post Match Quotes: Gregg Berhalter and Columbus Crew SC players
Berhalter was the first to speak to the media.
On Weathering The Storm: “It wasn’t easy. We had to keep going, keep pushing, keep fighting and we did that. In this league, that’s going to be the case more often than not. It’s going to be rare where from the opening minute you’re all over the opponent and you cruise in the second half. That’s not this league.
On Super Subs Manneh and Jahn: “I thought it was great. I was glad Kekuta was able to have the impact; We wanted to shift Jukka inside a little bit, we wanted to put him out wide and isolate him 1v1. That was the game plan and it worked out. All the credit has to go to those two guys. Adam has been fighting this whole year to have this type of impact as well.
Second Half Goals: “It was more of a question of hanging in there and being able to take advantage of opportunities. When Kekuta came in, the speed of the game changed. We needed a higher speed.
Kekuta Manneh: “The frustration didn’t affect the attitude, and that’s the important thing. We want guys to be frustrated they’re not playing, but then you have to show it on the training pitch. He did that. It’s no surprise he gets to be in a position like this.
Justin Meram chemistry with Jukka Raitala: “They have very good chemistry. They’re both smart players, they both have good movement. We saw that from day one in pre-season that they have good chemistry.
Zack Steffen Performance: “He was important. It’s remarkable that he can stay poised and come up in big moments. He’s going to have to continue to work on that.
One Win in last Five matches: “There’s a lot of circumstance that goes into every game. I’m proud of how the guys responded.
Kekuta Manneh Post Match Quotes
Super-sub Kekuta Manneh was available after the match to offer his two cents after the vital win.
His impact in the game: “It was good. I’ve been searching for that since I’ve been here. I’m here to help this team to get goals. Today I played with pride. We were fortunate to win the game.
Thought process before entering: “I had a week off. I need to help this team any way I can. I was hungry. Missing those weeks [with an injury] was like missing a month. I wanted to get a goal or get an assist and change the game.
Goal celebration: “I’m Muslim so, I was praying. Thanking God. I appreciate him helping me and protecting me.”
Time since the last goal with Vancouver: “Seven months maybe.” (Reporter Andrew Erickson tells Manneh that it’s been 364 days since his last goal). “Really? That’s a while ago. Under a year? Wow. It’s good to get that goal and hopefully much more to come.”