Saturday’s match between the San Jose Earthquakes and Columbus Crew SC may be their first clash in new Avaya Stadium, but the series has a long history. Both clubs are Major League Soccer originals and have faced-off 38 times in 20 years of regular-season play. Crew SC leads the series with an 18-13-7 record. Here are our top five moments from the series in chronological order.
August 18, 1996: Our first-ever victory over San Jose
Third time’s the charm, right? It took Columbus three attempts to pick up a win over San Jose, doing so to the tune of a 2-0 win at Ohio Stadium. Brian Maisonneuve (77’) and Adrian Paz (82’) recorded the late-match tallies to secure the win. Crew SC outshot the San Jose Clash, as they were known back then, 18-7.
March 25, 2000: The first-ever regular-season “Golden Goal” in MLS
Crew SC was bound for three points after Brian West broke the 0-0 tie in the 85th minute, but Ronald Cerritos’s 92nd minute penalty shot tied things up and sent the match into golden goal mode. Nine minutes later, Robert Warzycha, the man who would go on to coach Crew SC a few years later, fired off the game-winner to beat the newly-named Earthquakes.
September, 2002: Crew SC defeats San Jose in the League semifinals
Columbus advanced to the MLS semifinals on a 4-2 aggregate defeating San Jose, 2-1, in two consecutive matches. Crew SC’s Freddy Garcia registered a goal in each match and his team never trailed during either of the matches. Though Crew SC went on to be eliminated by New England, the club would capture the Lamar Hunt U.S Open Cup that year.
May 10, 2008: What a finish
The best part of any show is the grand finale and this day was no different. San Jose’s Ramiro Corrales opened up scoring in the 42nd minute. Half an hour later the floodgates opened. Robbie Rogers started the mayhem with a 73rd minute goal to tie the match. Seven minutes later Rogers tallied another goal, which was followed by a Brad Evans goal two minutes after that to put Crew SC up 3-1. Ryan Johnson cut the deficit to one another six minutes later. That’s four goals in 15 minutes. It ended there as Crew SC hung on for the final few minutes to pick up the win.
August 8, 2009: Open the floodgates
Much like the match above, the two sides saved the best for last. Except this time there was no scoring for the first 68 minutes until Crew SC turned it on. Alejandro Moreno opened scoring with a 69th minute tally, which was then followed up by an unassisted Rogers goal just four minutes later. After Crew SC let onlookers catch their collective breath, Adam Moffat capped off the offensive explosion in the 87th minute to secure the 3-0 win.
Crew SC forward, Kei Kamara, made a special appearance at Hayes Intermediate School in Grove City. Kei spoke to the students about his personal journey from Sierra Leone and the importance of hard work and dedication both in the classroom and on the field. After speaking to the group, Kei answered questions from the students, signed autographs and posed for a few pictures.
The event was part of Crew SC's "Give Forward" inititative, which is sponsored by MAPFRE Insurance.
For the first time in MAPFRE Stadium history, Columbus Crew SC beat Seattle Sounders FC. Crew SC's aggressive and persistent play in the attacking half revealed holes in Seattle’s defense and the Black & Gold took advantage. Tonight’s statistics tell a healthy part of how Columbus defeated Seattle. Here are the numbers to note.
Kei Kamara and Clint Dempsey each registered a pair of goals, each man picking up one in each half. Kamara’s goals (10’, 58’) came via a header and one-touch shot, while Dempsey (24’, 75’) scored with a powerful strike from outside the box and off a rebound within several yards of goal. Kamara and Dempsey are now co-leaders for most goals in MLS.
With Seattle’s second half push, Crew SC’s defense was tested, but did not break. The Black & Gold registered 22 clearances to maitain their narrow lead until the final whistle.
The number of shots Crew SC ripped off tonight, a season-high for the club. Crew SC registered 14 of those shots in the first half alone while holding Seattle to only six during the first 45 minutes. Despite Seattle’s late surge, which yielded Clint Dempsey’s second goal of the night, the Sounders ripped off only five more shots during the final 45 minutes of play.
Crew SC’s total possession, despite holding a hefty advantage in shots. The Black & Gold's opportunities were frequent, but quick pace can equate to less time with the ball. Columbus made quick work with its counter-attacks all evening and all of its goals were converted only a handful of seconds after the opportunities arose.
ONLY REGULAR SEASON MEETING IN 2015
Columbus Crew SC plays its ninth Major League Soccer regular-season match in 2015 and its fifth at MAPFRE Stadium by hosting Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday, May 9. This is the only match between Columbus and Seattle this year. Historically, the Black & Gold are 2-4-3 against Sounders FC all-time, and are looking for their first win over Sounders FC at home, where the series is 0-3-1 all-time in favor of the Rave Green.
FIRST MEETING SINCE MERAM STRIKE
The match pits the Black & Gold against the Rave Green for the first time since last season’s meeting on March 29, a match that culminated with Justin Meram’s game-winning, stoppage time strike at CenturyLink Field. The goal was Meram’s first of 2014. The midfielder entered the match in the 89th minute and found the back of the net in the 94th, giving Crew SC the 2-1 win. The goal sparked a breakout eight-tally, four-assist season for Meram, who has scored 11 total MLS regular-season goals over the past two seasons.
MARSHALL'S FIRST RETURN TO COLUMBUS
The match is also Seattle’s first trip to Columbus since acquiring former Black & Gold defender Chad Marshall. A member of the 2008 MLS Cup championship squad, Marshall made 253 regular-season appearances for Columbus from 2004-13. Former Black & Gold player Brad Evans and coach Sigi Schmid are also making returns to Columbus.
HOME SWEET HOME
At MAPFRE Stadium this season, Crew SC has a record of 3-1-0 with 10 goals scored and just three conceded. Crew SC’s home goal differential of plus seven is the best such mark in Major League Soccer. Columbus is the only club in the League to have reached the 10-goal mark at home. Over its past two home matches, Crew SC has amassed seven tallies, more than or equal to the total season home goal output of 12 other MLS clubs.
BACK-TO-BACK THREE-GOAL WINS AT HOME
In their last homestand, the Black & Gold defeated Orlando City SC by a 3-0 scoreline on April 18 ahead of a 4-1 win over Philadelphia on April 25. The stretch marked the third time in club history that Columbus won back-to-back matches by three or more goals. The club achieved the feat in 1999 on July 24 (4-1 over Dallas) and August 1 (4-0 over Miami), and in 2014 on August 16 (4-1 over LA) and August 23 (3-0 over Houston).
TOP THREE PASSING PERFORMANCES
In their last match at MAPFRE Stadium, against the Philadelphia Union, the Black & Gold passed to a team accuracy rate of 87.9%. That number is the second-highest passing accuracy mark achieved by any MLS club in any match this season. The Black & Gold’s passing performance against Orlando City SC (April 18) is currently the highest mark at 88.1%. Crew SC also holds the third-highest mark, with 87.1% passing against Toronto FC (March 14).
KAMARA AMONG LEAGUE LEADERS IN GOALS ...
Crew SC forward Kei Kamara’s five goals currently tie him for second in MLS in goal scoring. Kamara is among a group of four players at five goals, joined by Seattle Sounders FC’s Clint Dempsey as well as Houston’s Giles Barnes and Vancouver’s Octavio Rivero. Sounders FC forward Obafemi Martins is leading MLS in goal-scoring, with six tallies.
... AS WELL AS SHOTS
Following his three shots attempted against D.C. United, Crew SC’s Kei Kamara ranks second in MLS in shots/match (4.3) and in total shots (34).
POSSESSION, PASSING, CHANCES
Crew SC has continued its strong passing and possession play in 2015. According to the League’s official statistician, Opta, Crew SC leads the League in chances created per match (12.1) and big chances created per match (1.4). The Black & Gold also rank second overall in MLS in passing accuracy (81.9%) and second overall in possession (54.2%).
FRANCIS, SAEID LEADING LEAGUE IN PASSING
Among the League’s most accurate passers (min. 100 passes attempted), the top two are members of the Black & Gold. Defender Waylon Francis (93.8%) and midfielder Mohammed Saeid (90.6%) both rank atop the League in passing accuracy. Seattle’s Osvaldo Alonso is also among the League’s most accurate passers.