Match Notes: Crew SC vs. Seattle Sounders

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.