*Note: This editorial was edited by ColumbusCrewSC.com and provided by MLSsoccer.com
Two teams that secured home wins in Week 1 meet at CenturyLink Field when the Seattle Sounders (1-0-0, 3 pts.) host Columbus Crew SC (1-0-0, 3 pts.) Saturday night.
Last Sunday, Lucas Zelarayan opened his account on his MLS debut to lift Crew SC to a 1-0 win over 10-man NYCFC Sunday at MAPFRE Stadium. Maxime Chanot was sent off for denying a goal-scoring opportunity after clipping Zelarayan on his race toward goal. The Argentine playmaker then scored the decisive goal in the 56th minute, cutting inside a tackle by Alex Ring and slotting inside the far post.
Ahead of Saturday's match against the defending MLS Cup champions, Darlington Nagbe, who finished the NYCFC match with a 95.1-percent passing accuracy rate in the opponent's half, stressed the need to maintain control in the opening minutes.
"Don’t let your emotions get too high. It’s always a good atmosphere. Good team. Good players, talented players, so they’re always going to come up with energy. The thing is to control that first wave, then when the game settles, play our game," he said.
Last Sunday, Nagbe registered a 95-percent passing rate for passes ending in the final third, which ranked first among players with at least 15 such passes.
No stranger to playing at Seattle, Head Coach Caleb Porter acknowledged the task ahead in playing a Sounders side that went 11-4-2 at home last year at home.
"I love playing two really good teams early in the year because it’s a great measuring stick for us and we can learn a lot from these games," Porter said. "We know we will be underdogs. We know they’ll be favored. We know what they like to do, so we have to think about those things. Go in with a bit of confidence, but also go in with an understanding that this is a game we have to be smart in."
It's still uncertain whether Seattle Designated Player Nicolás Lodeiro will available to play on Saturday. Regardless, it was again Jordan Morris stepping up for them last weekend at home vs. Chicago Fire FC.
Morris, who subbed on in the second-half, struck for a brace as the Sounders rallied to defeat Chicago at CenturyLink Field. Chicago's Robert Beric opened the scoring in the first minute after halftime. But Morris came off the bench to level in the 62nd minute before securing all three points with a stoppage-time winner.
Morris has been directly involved in 13 goals in his last 15 regular season MLS appearances for the Sounders (eight goals, five direct assists), averaging a direct goal involvement every 86 minutes during this period.
All-time, the Crew is 4-6-4 vs. Seattle, while the Sounders defeated Columbus 2-1 last year at MAPFRE Stadium, though Seattle has never won consecutive games against the Crew.
Kickoff on Saturday is scheduled for 10:00 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on SportsTime Ohio and 97.1 FM.