Preview: Crew vs. Sounders FC
The Columbus Crew will be looking to do something they’ve never done
when they play host to Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday at Crew Stadium.
Riding a six-match undefeated streak after last weekend 2-1 win against
Crew have never defeated Seattle at home, losing both previous meetings
in Ohio. Sounders FC started their two-game Eastern swing on Wednesday
with a 2-1 loss at D.C. United.
REFEREE: Mark Kadlecik. SAR (bench): Steven Taylor;
JAR (opposite): James Conlee; 4th: Mark Geiger MLS Career: 2 games;
FC/gm: 20.0; Y/gm: 3.0; R: 1; pens: 0
INJURY REPORT: COLUMBUS CREW – OUT: MF Danny
O'Rourke (L knee Surgery); DF Josh Williams (R hip labral tear);
QUESTIONABLE: FW Tom Heinemann (R pes anserine bursitis); DF Shaun
Francis (L hamstring strain) …
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC – OUT: FW O’Brian White (L leg surgery); MF Steve Zakuani (R leg fracture); PROBABLE: FW Pat Noonan (R quad strain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: CLB: Kevin Burns; Julius James … SEA: Leo Gonzalez
ALL-TIME (4 meetings): Sounders FC 2 wins, 7 goals … Crew 0 wins, 2 goals … Ties 2
AT COLUMBUS (2 meetings): Sounders FC 2 wins, 5 goals … Crew 0 wins, 0 goals … Ties 0
RETURN MATCH: 8/27: Seattle Sounders FC vs. Columbus Crew, 1 p.m. PT
LAST YEAR (MLS):
5/1: SEA 1, CLB 1 (Zakuani 4 – Lenhart 45)
9/18: CLB 0, SEA 4 (Nkufo 4, 39, 75; Sturgis 42)
Sounders FC are unbeaten in five all-time meetings with the Crew –
four in league play, as well as a victory in the U.S. Open Cup Final
Sounders FC have won both previous encounters at Crew Stadium – the
Crew have yet to score a goal against Seattle on their home ground,
while conceding five.
- Coaches record: Sigi Schmid v CLB: P16 W7 L3 D6 … Robert Warzycha vs. SEA: P4 W0 L2 D2
The Columbus Crew made it six matches without loss, holding on for a
2-1 win against Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday evening at Crew
Stadium. The Crew have 12 points from 7 games on the season, starting
the week in a tie for
third place in the Eastern Conference.
The Crew broke through just after the second-half restart. Emilio
Renteria pounced on a loose ball, and after he was tripped up in the box
by Whitecaps FC goalkeeper Jay Nolly, he converted his own penalty.
Just nine minutes later, Rentería made it 2-0 when Rusmir took a pass
from Dilly Duka, spun and found Rentería in stride in the box. The
Venezuelan international got inside of his defender to finish with a
first-time left-footed shot.
Vancouver reduced the deficit in the 69th minute when Omar Salgado
scored his first professional goal, heading home a cross from the left
by Terry Dunfield.
Crew head coach Robert Warzycha made two changes to the team that
coming back for a 1-1 draw with Toronto FC at BMO Field. Josh Gardner
came in for Rich Balchan at fullback, and Dejan Rusmir started in place
of Emmanuel Ekpo.
COLUMBUS CREW (4-2-3-1): William Hesmer - Sebastian Miranda, Chad
Marshall, Julius James, Josh Gardner - Dilly Duka (Leandre Griffit 88),
Dejan Rusmir - Eddie Gaven, Kevin Burns (Emmanuel Ekpo 67), Robbie
Rogers - Emilio Renteria (Jeff Cunningham 78).
The Crew allowed their first goal in 339 minutes of play at Crew
Stadium this season, but still held on for the 2-1 win against
"I didn't like the way the end of the second half went," center back
Chad Marshall said. "We need to do better at killing off games. We
should have been knocking the ball around and making them run. We gave
the ball away cheaply."
The Crew have still not lost since the 3-1 First Kick defeat by D.C.
United. "I think we're starting to hit our stride," Eddie Gaven said to
the Columbus Dispatch. "I don't think we've played our best soccer yet,
but you can see some signs there. At times we were very, very good."
Emilio Renteria has scored all three of his goals this season in the
last two games, including netting the Crew’s third penalty kick (in
seven total goals) this season. "This is the first time I've scored with
the left foot," Renteria said.
With returnee Shaun Francis out with a hamstring injury, rookie Rich
Balchan had held the starting job at left back from the start of the
season. But with Balchan sidelined with an illness for the Vancouver
match, Josh Gardner moved into the left back slot and made a goal-line
clearance to preserve the Crew lead.
“It’s great to have both guys as assets,” goalkeeper William Hesmer
said. “And we’ve got [Francis], too. Left back for a lot of teams is a
huge trouble spot. It looks like we’ve got an embarrassment of riches
Gardner is nominally a midfielder, who has been playing the lower
divisions in the last few years after making his last MLS appearance for
the LA Galaxy in 2006.
“He’s got more experience than Rich, obviously,” Hesmer said. “Rich is
more raw. Josh is good with his feet. He’s serving a good ball, he can
pass well. He doesn’t have the recovery that Rich does to cover up for
other mistakes. He doesn’t have Rich’s speed, but Rich is one of the
fastest guys I’ve seen.”
In the midfield, Dejan Rusmir returned to the team in place of
Emmanuel Ekpo while second-year player Dilly Duka held down a starting
spot for a second consecutive week.
“We’re playing different than the Crew usually plays,” Duka said.
“We’re playing with five midfielders, so we’re definitely enjoying the
ball more. It’s been coming. We’ve been training good all week and it
showed. [Last] Thursday in an intra-squad game, we were clicking there
and it rubbed off [on Saturday]."
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
Seattle Sounders FC had their unbeaten streak come to an end to start a
two-game Eastern road swing, falling 2-1 to D.C. United on Wednesday
evening at RFK Stadium. Sounders FC have 12 points from 9 games on the
season, sitting in a tie for third place in the Western Conference.
- United struck first in the 31st minute. Andy Najar’s through ball found Davies in space down the right flank.
After shrugging off the challenge of Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Davies
squared a perfect ball for Josh Wolff, who slammed a shot first-time
past Kasey Keller.
The same offensive trio teamed to double D.C.’s lead in the 52nd
minute. Najar once again created space on the ball, and slotted in Wolff
on the right wing. Wolff this time played provider, sending in an
inch-perfect cross for Davies to tap home for his league-leading sixth
goal of the season.
Sounders FC pulled a goal back when Fredy Montero won a penalty, and
Brad Evans converted from the spot, but Seattle could not maintain their
perfect record at RFK Stadium.
- Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid made no changes to the team that defeated Toronto FC 3-0 at Qwest Field.
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-1-3-2): Kasey Keller – James Riley (Mauro
Rosales 59), Patrick Ianni, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Tyson Wahl – Osvaldo
Alonso – Brad Evans, Erik Friberg, Alvaro Fernandez (Leo Gonzalez 76) –
Fredy Montero, Nate Jaqua (Roger Levesque 64).
- Sounders FC hadn’t lost since dropping 1-0 decisions to both New York and LA to open the season.
“I think we started out a little bit too flat, and we knew (D.C.
United) was a team with their back against the wall,” Seattle midfielder
Brad Evans said. “For us, we didn’t play as well as we did last week,
especially as far as moving the ball and keeping the ball in possession
in our attacking half of the field. We still created a number of
chances, and it was just a matter of putting them away.”
- The goal scored by United midway through the first half was the first allowed by Sounders FC in 268 minutes.
Sounders FC had come away with victories on each of their first three
visits to RFK Stadium. They now head to Columbus were they are also
perfect, with two wins in two trips to face the Crew.
"It's tough to go into a place and win four games in a row, that's for
sure," Evans said. "To have a record like that of three victories is
good, but for us we take away a few things we need to work on in this
game and move forward."
Over the final 20 minutes, after Sounders FC had pulled to within one,
Mauro Rosales suffered a hamstring injury. But as Sigi Schmid had used
all three available substitutes, Rosales had to carry on – though he
"In the second half we got back into the game, and I really thought
we'd get the equalizer, but Mauro Rosales pulls his hamstring in the
last 12 minutes — he's just standing on the field, he can't move
anymore," Schmid said.
Brad Evans has scored the last three goals for Sounders FC, since
moving to a wide midfield spot, the last two coming from the penalty
“We were able to get some pressure in the box, but it wasn’t cohesive
enough and sometimes I think we ran too much. Brad Evans always gives
you a good effort and Erik Friberg gives you a big effort, but sometimes
I think they ran too much ahead of the play instead of coming in behind
the play,” Kasey Keller said. “So as a result of that, we had too many
guys close together and when the ball popped free it seemed like every
second ball fell to [D.C.] because we were on top of each other.”