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Seattle Sounders FC vs Columbus Crew 05-24-2012 - Preview

Matchcenter

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Seattle Sounders FC
0 - 2
Final
Columbus Crew
MLS Regular Season
May 23, 2012
10:00pm EDT
CenturyLink Field

Preview: Sounders, Crew clash after dramatic weekend ties

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC vs COLUMBUS CREW
CENTURYLINK FIELD, Seattle, Wash.
May 23, 2012 (WEEK 12, MLS Game #110)
10 p.m. ET (KONG; FS-OH)

Seattle Sounders FC return home to CenturyLink Field to take on the Columbus Crew, who will complete a two-game road swing when the clubs meet on Wednesday evening. The Sounders once again had some late-game dramatics at the home of their Cascadia Cup rivals to the north, storming back late for a 2-2 draw with the Vancouver Whitecaps. The Crew saw late drama of their own on their first game of the trip, with San Jose getting a last-minute equalizer from Alan Gordon and forcing Columbus into a 1-1 draw.

REFEREE: Geoff Gamble. SAR (bench): Kevin Duliba; JAR (opposite): Jeff Hosking; 4th: Alejandro Mariscal

MLS Career: 12 games; FC/gm: 22.7; Y/gm: 3.2; R: 2; pens: 9

DOWNLOAD FULL GAME GUIDE HERE (PDF)

INJURY REPORT:

  • SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC – OUT: GK Josh Ford (R knee stress fracture); MF Steve Zakuani (R leg fracture); DF Michael Tetteh (L hamstring strain); FW Babayele Sodade (R knee ACL tear); DOUBTFUL: GK Michael Gspurning (R hip strain); DF Patrick Ianni (lower back pain); MF Brad Evans (R calf strain); PROBABLE: MF Alvaro Fernandez (R quad strain); DF Leo Gonzalez (L quad strain) …
  • COLUMBUS CREW -- OUT: FW Tommy Heinemann (L knee surgery); GK William Hesmer (R hip surgery); FW Aaron Schoenfeld (R plantar fascia rupture); DF Chad Marshall (concussion); MF Kirk Urso (R adductor tendonitis); FW Ethan Finlay (concussion); DOUBTFUL: FW Ben Speas (sports hernia rehab); DF Rich Balchan (sports hernia rehab); DF Julius James (illness); PROBABLE: MF Danny O'Rourke (L ankle sprain), MF Dilly Duka (L hamstring strain); DF Carlos Mendes (R hamstring strain); FW Olman Vargas (L hamstring contusion)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

SUSPENDED: none

WARNINGS:

  • SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
  • SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: SEA: Fredy Montero, Eddie Johnson

HEAD-TO-HEAD

ALL-TIME (6 meetings): Sounders FC 3 wins, 14 goals … Crew 0 wins, 5 goals … Ties 3

AT SEATTLE (3 meetings): Sounders FC 1 win, 8 goals … Crew 0 wins, 4 goals … Ties 2

LAST YEAR (MLS):

5/7: CLB 1, SEA 1 (Renteria 67 – Montero 7)

8/27: SEA 6, CLB 2 (Neagle 4, 21, 70; Rosales 16; Fucito 40; own goal 74 – Cunningham 59; Gardner 73)

• This is the only league meeting between the clubs this season.

• Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid has never lost to his former club while with Seattle; Seattle have won four of the seven meetings all-time in all competitions, with three draws, including a victory in the 2010 U.S. Open Cup Final.

• Sounders FC set a club record in last year’s 6-2 win vs. Columbus, scoring four goals in the first half and the most goals in a game in the club’s MLS history. It was also the game when Crew forward Jeff Cunningham became the all-time goals leader in MLS history.

• Coaches record: Sigi Schmid vs. CLB: P18 W8 L3 D7 … Robert Warzycha vs. SEA: P6 W0 L3 D3

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC

Seattle Sounders FC once again provided some late dramatics in a Cascadia Cup match, getting a late goal for a 2-2 draw with Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday afternoon at BC Place. Sounders FC are in third place in the Western Conference with 23 points from 11 games.

LAST MATCH

WATCH: VAN 2, SEA 2

• Whitecaps left back Alain Rochat opened the scoring in the 12th minute following a marauding run down the left, cutting into the area and beating Sounders FC goalkeeper Bryan Meredith with an angled shot.

• The Sounders pulled level in the 47th minute when Eddie Johnson headed home a cross from Mauro Rosales from the right flank.

• Vancouver nosed back in the 82nd minute when Camilo scored from a free kick that found a way through a crowded penalty area and surprised goalkeeper Meredith, slipping inside his left-hand post.

• Yet there was one more twist in the tale. Fredy Montero turned just outside the penalty area before curling a shot inside the right post for the equalizer.

• Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid made two changes to the team that fell 1-0 to Real Salt Lake at CenturyLink Field. Alex Caskey and Alvaro Fernandez came into the midfield for Andy Rose and David Estrada.

• SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-4-2): Bryan Meredith - Adam Johansson, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Marc Burch (Zach Scott 85) - Mauro Rosales, Alex Caskey (Andy Rose 46), Osvaldo Alonso, Alvaro Fernandez (David Estrada 72) - Fredy Montero, Eddie Johnson.

TEAM NEWS

• Eddie Johnson and Fredy Montero continued their recent prolific partnership, each scoring in Sounders FC’s 2-2 draw in Vancouver. The strike pair has combined for seven goals (Montero 4, Johnson 3) over the past six games.

• Johnson’s goal was his first since April 7. “It was one of those goals with good buildup. … I think for the first time tonight I was free on goal where I wasn't battling with the defenders. It was a well crossed ball, I think [Mauro Rosales] and I are starting to develop a little partnership. Three of the goals I've had he's assisted on two of them. Whenever the ball gets out wide to Mauro we know he's a good passer of the ball and I was just trying to do what us forwards get paid to do, which is score goals when the ball comes in. I was very fortunate and blessed today to get on the end of one,” Johnson said.

• Montero’s goal was his fourth of the year, all in the last five games.

• “We could have gone either one of two ways and we went the right way,"  said Johnson. "We didn’t give up, we didn't put our head down, we didn't start moaning and pointing fingers. The most important thing is we know we’re a team that can create opportunities and we believed in our abilities. Credit to Fredy on the last goal, it was a pretty special individual play by him.”

• Alvaro Fernandez made his first start since April 7, coming in on the left side of midfield.

• After starting back-to-back matches wide in the midfield, Alex Caskey returned to the lineup, but this time in a central midfield role. The tactics changed at halftime as Schmid brought on Andy Rose.

• “In the first half we didn't do a good job against the central part of their midfield," said Schmid. "Davidson was free a lot to orchestrate it and they were constantly playing three against two. What we did at halftime is we dropped Montero into the hole a little bit to deal with Davidson and played more of a 4-3-2-1 to match up with that. Also, the guys I think were a little more honest. I think we cheated a little bit defensively in the first half and that gave them opportunities.”

• Sounders FC conceded more than one goal in a game for the first time this season in the 2-2 draw at Vancouver. Yet they have still allowed just six goals over the course of the season, fewest in MLS.

• “I thought the first half was really difficult and they came out with a better mentality," said Johnson. "We were a bit flat. They were able to score early in the game. I thought we made some adjustments at halftime and we came out better in the second half. We were fortunate to fight through the second half and get two goals and come out of here with something.”

COLUMBUS CREW

The Columbus Crew kicked off their two-game road trip with a result, gaining a 1-1 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday evening at Buck Shaw Stadium. The Crew sit in a tie for seventh place in the Eastern Conference with 12 points from 10 games.

LAST MATCH

WATCH: SJ 1, CLB 1

• In the 21st minute, Steven Lenhart got into the box before the Crew’s Eric Gehrig took him down for a penalty. Gruenebaum made a remarkable save, stopping the spot kick from MLS' leading scorer Chris Wondolowski with an outstretched leg.

• The Crew took the lead in first-half stoppage time. Justin Meram cut inside from the left and beat veteran San Jose 'keeper Jon Busch with a superb finish, finding the far side netting from just inside the left corner of the box.

• But the Quakes once again had some late magic. Alan Gordon took a quick layoff from Chris Wondolowski in the area and hammered a rising drive. The ball crashed off the crossbar, but Gordon was able to acrobatically hook it back into the goal for the 90th-minute leveller.

• Crew head coach Robert Warzycha made two changes to the team that came back for a 2-1 victory against FC Dallas at Crew Stadium. Justin Meram and Olman Vargas came into the forward line for Emilio Renteria and Ethan Finlay.

• COLUMBUS CREW (4-1-3-2): Andy Gruenebaum - Sebastian Miranda, Josh Williams, Eric Gehrig, Nemanja Vukovic (Shaun Francis 80) - Danny O'Rourke - Tony Tchani, Milovan Mirosevic (Cole Grossman 46), Eddie Gaven - Justin Meram (Dilly Duka 60), Olman Vargas.

TEAM NEWS

• Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum was credited with seven saves in the draw with San Jose, matching his career-high set earlier this season (May 5 vs. Portland).

• “It’s a mixed feeling because after the first 30 minutes we should have been 2-0 down,” head coach Robert Warzycha said. “Andy played out of his mind – we had a chance to go up 2-0 with [Tony] Tchani’s header but then we gave up the goal in the last minute.”

• Gruenebaum saved the first penalty kick of his MLS career. He’s faced four in his 36 career league appearances; two have scored, and one went wide.

• “We watched a lot of video on (San Jose’s) goals, and I happened to notice that (Chris Wondolowski) is a pretty good player, and that he goes that way (to his right) at least once, and hits it hard,” said Gruenebaum. “So I just dove and made myself big. I noticed that it was going back to my (left), I started to over-dive it, but I just stacked the pads.”

• After going into his second professional season without a goal, Crew striker Justin Meram made it two goals in two games, netting the opener in the 1-1 draw with San Jose.

• “In college, I scored a lot of goals," Meram said. "As a rookie last year, I didn’t get much of a chance. Finally when I got the monkey off my back (last week), now I go out and play. I feel comfortable. I have that natural instinct back, which is good. As a goal-scorer, there’s always those droughts and moments where you’re either hot or you’re not. I’m going to keep riding this as long as I can.”

• “I don’t think he was particularly having the best first half of his life, but that’s what he can do," said goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum. "He can change the game on one play. It doesn’t matter if he’s playing lights out or having a rough one. He’s very confident in his ability. He showed it there.”

• The Crew’s injury crisis grew even worse when Milovan Mirosevic was forced from the field at halftime with a groin injury. His replacement was Cole Grossman, making his first appearance of the season and third of his professional career.

• “I’ll take game minutes any way, shape or form: home, away from home, against anybody in the league,” Grossman said. “I’ve worked unbelievably hard with the team and on my own. I’ve tried to stay as positive as I can.”