COLUMBUS – A barrage of goals spread across both halves powered Columbus Crew SC past the defending Major League Soccer Cup champion Seattle Sounders FC at MAPFRE Stadium on Wednesday night. The 3-0 victory by the Black & Gold came by way of Justin Meram, Federico Higuain and Ola Kamara.
The 10th minute saw the Crew SC veteran midfielder Higuain score from the top of the box on far-post laser that overpowered Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei. Higuain was assisted by fellow midfielder Hector Jimenez after he winning a slide tackle and making the connection with Higuain.
Higuain’s early goal made him the third highest scoring member of Crew SC in club history. His 44th goal tied him with Stern John, and he is now trailing only Jeff Cunningham and Brian McBride — who have 64 and 62 goals, respectively.
The 21st minute saw Meram use a hesitation move in the open field to create separation for his far-post goal from outside the box. After receiving the ball at midfield from Crew SC captain and midfielder Wil Trapp, Meram worked magic to tie his career-high for goals in a single season with eight.
Kamara broke away in the 59th minute on a give-and-go with Meram before slotting a ball off the post before finding the back of the net. Kamara had a number of attempts on goal in the contest before finally breaking through and scoring his eighth goal of the season.
A secondary assist on the play was awarded to Higuain and gave him membership to Crew SC’s 40/40 club. Pipa’s 40th assist to go along with his 43 career goals for Columbus — again putting him among the likes of Cunningham (64 goals, 44 assists) and McBride (62 goals, 45 assists) as the only members in Crew SC history.
Columbus (7-7-1, 22 pts) recorded the clean sheet against a rare Major League Soccer Western Conference foe. The midweek matchup will be the lone meeting of the squads in the 2017 regular season. Crew SC improved their all-time record against the Rave Green to 4-5-3.
That stat sheet showed that in favor of the Black & Gold on the windy evening in Columbus. Crew SC outshot Seattle by a margin of 12-6 in total shots and 5-3 in terms of shots on target. The possession battle was also won by Crew SC with a 53.5 percent margin.
10’ – CLB – Federico Higuain (Hector Jimenez)
21’ – CLB – Justin Meram (Wil Trapp)
59’ – CLB – Ola Kamara (Justin Meram, Federico Higuain)
Crew SC midfielder and Captain Wil Trapp recorded his second assist of the season on Wednesday. Entering the match, Trapp led the Black & Gold in passes and successful passes. Seattle and Columbus also entered the match ranked second and third in MLS in terms of successful passes with 5,767 and 5,742 passes, respectively.
Half a hundred
Along with recording his first assist of the 2017 campaign, midfielder Hector Jimenez also started his 50th match as a member of the Black & Gold. Jimenez also won three tackles and completed a total of 34 successful passes on Seattle’s half.
A Swiss Army defense
The clean sheet recorded by the Crew SC back line against Seattle also included a telling stat about the depth and resilience of Columbus. Wednesday’s starting lineup marked the 10th different back line for Crew SC in 15 matches so far this season.
After Crew SC's midweek 3-0 victory over Seattle Sounders FC, Columbus will travel to face the Colorado Rapids on Saturday, June 3, with a 9 p.m. ET kickoff. A June 17 match in Atlanta against MLS-expansion side Atlanta United comes next with a 7 p.m. ET kickoff. Crew SC next plays the Montreal Impact at MAPFRE Stadium on Saturday, June 24 with a 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff. Enjoy half-off select beers (for supporters ages 21-and-over), Pepsi products, brats and pretzels through the 15th minute.*
*concession items subject to change
The Black & Gold welcome German Bundesliga-side and DFB Pokal-finalist Eintracht Frankfurt to MAPFRE Stadium for an international friendly on Monday, July 17. The match is set to kick off at 7:30 p.m.