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Columbus Crew SC vs Seattle Sounders FC 08-31-2013 - Preview

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Columbus Crew SC
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Seattle Sounders FC
MLS Regular Season
August 31, 2013
7:30pm EDT
Columbus Crew Stadium
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Columbus Crew vs. Seattle Sounders | MLS Match Preview

Columbus Crew vs. Seattle Sounders, August 31, 2013

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COLUMBUS CREW vs. SEATTLE SOUNDERS
COLUMBUS CREW STADIUM, Columbus, Ohio
August 31, 2013 (WEEK 27, MLS Game #245)
7:30 pm ET (FS-OH; KONG/KOMO)

The Columbus Crew return home with a major test ahead to get back into the playoff reckoning when they play host to Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday evening at Crew Stadium. The Crew find themselves seven points out of the Eastern Conference playoff spots to start the weekend, following their 4-0 loss at Real Salt Lake. Sounders FC have moved into the Western Conference top five after a long uphill battle, coming off a famous 1-0 win against archrival Portland Timbers last weekend at CenturyLink Field.

REFEREE: Ismail Elfath. AR1 (bench): Chris Strickland; AR2 (opposite): Brian Dunn; 4th: Hilario Grajeda
Elfath MLS Career: 19 games; FC/gm: 24.6; Y/gm: 3.2; R: 5; pens: 7

DISABLED LIST: SEA -- Josh Ford, Steve Zakuani
SUSPENDED: CLB -- Federico Higuain (through Sept. 4)

WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: CLB -- Danny O’Rourke ... SEA -- Jhon Kennedy Hurtado
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: CLB -- Jairo Arrieta, Tyson Wahl, Kevan George, Bernardo Anor, Dominic Oduro ... SEA -- Zach Scott, Eddie Johnson, Leo Gonzalez, Djimi Traore
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (7 meetings): Crew 1 win, 7 goals ... Sounders FC 3 wins, 14 goals ... Ties 3
AT COLUMBUS (3 meetings): Crew 0 wins, 1 goal ... Sounders FC 2 wins, 6 goals ... Ties 1

LAST YEAR (MLS)
5/23: SEA 0, CLB 2 (Meram 15; Renteria 76)

  • The teams are meeting for the only time this season in league play.
  • The Crew’s lone win in the all-time series came in last year’s meeting, a 2-0 win May 23 at CenturyLink Field.
  • The Crew have never defeated Sounders FC in Columbus. Seattle won its first two visits to Crew Stadium, in 2009 and 2010; the teams reached a 1-1 draw there in 2011.
  • Coaches record: Robert Warzycha vs. SEA: P7 W1 L3 D3 ... Sigi Schmid vs. CLB: P19 W8 L4 D7

COLUMBUS CREW
The Columbus Crew saw their two-game winning streak come to an abrupt end, falling 4-0 to Real Salt Lake on Saturday evening at Rio Tinto Stadium. The Crew are in eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 29 points from 25 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • Real took the lead first-half stoppage time through some good fortune. A Javier Morales free kick from about 10 yards outside the box went directly at the wall, but deflected through it and off Kyle Beckerman into the net. Crew goalkeeper Matt Lampson was wrong-footed and could only watch the ball go past after the deflection.
  • Six minutes after halftime, the lead was doubled when Olmes Garcia sent a cross across the box and Devon Sandoval easily slotted home.
  • Real Salt Lake made it 3-0 in the 82nd minute, Luis Gil showing some slick movement in fooling a defender before tucking a shot past Lampson. Beckerman capped off his brace in the 89th minute with a one-time finish from 12 yards out after a centering pass from the left deflected off a defender.
  • The Crew finished the game a man down when Federico Higuain was ejected after receiving his second yellow card of the night during second-half stoppage time.
  • Crew head coach Robert Warzycha made two changes to the team that defeated Toronto FC 2-0 at Crew Stadium. Danny O'Rourke and Ben Speas came into the team in place of Bernardo Anor and Justin Meram.
  • COLUMBUS CREW (4-1-3-1-1): Matt Lampson - Chad Barson, Josh Williams, Chad Marshall, Agustin Viana - Danny O'Rourke (Tony Tchani 63) - Wil Trapp - Dominic Oduro, Federico Higuain (ejected 91+), Ben Speas (Ryan Finley 74) - Jairo Arrieta (Konrad Warzycha 62).

TEAM NEWS

  • The four goals allowed to Real Salt Lake were a season-high for the Crew, following back-to-back shutouts.
  • “Coming into the game, we knew how they were going to play, but we didn’t match their intensity, and they were first to the ball. Especially in the first half, even though they only scored one goal, they were much sharper,” said Crew head coach Robert Warzycha. “Unfortunately for us, the first two goals were very unfortunate I would say. The first one got a deflection off the wall in the last minute, and during the second one, the goalkeeper was injured, basically, and couldn’t save it. After that, we tried to come back into the game and make some subs. We got some possession, but not really clear chances.”
  • Said defender Chad Barson: “I don’t think that we kept the ball as well as we had the past two games. It doesn’t help when you give up goals – and give up as many as we did – and I don’t think that we created as much. Overall, there’s no single person to blame, but as a team, we didn’t do enough to create chances and to keep the ball out of our net.”
  • After scoring four goals in the previous two matches – all of the Crew’s goals in back-to-back 2-0 wins – Federico Higuaín was sent off late at Real Salt Lake and will miss the next two matches through suspension, also banned a game for caution accumulation.
  • “We have to finish our chances. We're going to create the chances, but we have to finish,” Warzycha said. “Fortunately for [Higuain], he was in the right place at the right time, and he's a good finisher. Now, without him, we're going to have to have somebody who can step up and finish those chances.”
  • After scoring three goals in a reserve match, Ryan Finley could be given the start up top with Higuaín’s suspension. Finley has not made an MLS start, coming off the substitutes’ bench on seven occasions.
  • “We had the reserve game, and Ryan scoring three goals helps a lot,” Warzycha said. “I think if you ask the player, they're all ready to start. It doesn't matter what the outcome could be, they always want to start. I think Ryan probably deserves a look, and probably deserves more time on the field.”
  • After making nine consecutive starts, Bernardo Anor was out of the lineup through injury. Justin Meram was also out of the team following back-to-back starts.
  • “We had built some confidence winning the last two games at home. We had had two very good games – we scored 4 goals and didn’t give up any. I’m sure that the absences changed the guys’ mental approach a little bit. Danny [O’Rourke] is a good player, and Ben [Speas] is a good player, and they have played so many games already that I don’t think that that should affect our performance. I just have to say that RSL was much sharper today than us.”

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
Seattle Sounders FC returned home and gained a famous victory, defeating the Portland Timbers 1-0 before a record crowd at CenturyLink Field. Sounders FC are in a tie for fifth place in the Western Conference with 37 points from 23 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • The game's only goal came right on the hour. Mauro Rosales whipped in a free kick from out on the left flank and Eddie Johnson sent a perfect glancing header into the back of the net.
  • Michael Gspurning was called upon to make four saves, including a pair of crucial stops in the dying minutes of the game, for the shutout.
  • Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid made four changes to the team that dropped a 3-1 decision to the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium. Zach Scott and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado came into the back four for Djimi Traore and Patrick Ianni, and Brad Evans and Eddie Johnson came into the side for Mauro Rosales and Marc Burch.
  • SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-4-2): Michael Gspurning - DeAndre Yedlin, Zach Scott, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez - Brad Evans, Shalrie Joseph (Mauro Rosales 56), Osvaldo Alonso, Lamar Neagle (Djimi Traore 90) - Clint Dempsey, Eddie Johnson (Servando Carrasco 90).

TEAM NEWS

  • The win vs. Portland drew a crowd of 67,385, the second-largest standalone crowd in MLS history and the largest soccer crowd in Seattle history. It was also the fourth-largest soccer crowd in the world last weekend.
  • “It's the three points, it's winning against our rival. Those things are important. We still have games in hand on people, so we continue to gain,” said Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid. “But it's also just the team, the confidence, it's the first time we had Clint with Eddie up front.”
  • Sounders FC extended their undefeated streak at CenturyLink Field to a club-record 10 games, winning their third home match in a row.
  • “We knew what we had to do for the fans,” Sounders goalkeeper Michael Gspurning said. “68,000 came to see us win and we wanted to win so badly. We gave everything we had. It's a night that I will remember in 20 years.”
  • Eddie Johnson scored his second goal in the last four matches, returning to the lineup after not featuring in the defeat in Houston.
  • “He rises to the occasion and he's done that for us in a number of games, a number of circumstances,” said midfielder Brad Evans. “That's what you want. You what your forwards scoring goals and creating chances and that's what they did tonight. You always know you're going to get chances with Eddie in the lineup.”
  • Jhon Kennedy Hurtado returned to the Sounders FC lineup after missing the last four matches. He last played a league game July 20 in a 1-1 draw at Colorado.
  • Mauro Rosales went to the substitutes’ bench after starting five consecutive games, but came on for the final 34 minutes and collected his sixth assist of the season.
  • “He certainly helped us with set pieces and should have had a goal as well when he come in on that one cross and came very close to a goal” said Schmid. “He was definitely a plus for us coming off the bench. It's great to have a player like him to come off the bench.”
  • Said Johnson: “The game opened up in the second half and we got Mauro on the field, who is a good crosser of the ball, and we’ve had a good relationship since last year. It shows how important he is to the team. For me, I did what I get paid to do – score goals in the box.”
  • With Obafemi Martins out for a second consecutive match, Lamar Neagle moved to a wide midfield position with Clint Dempsey getting a second consecutive start in attack.
  • “The only guy we were missing tonight was (Obafemi Martins). So once we get everything out there,” said Schmid. “I thought Lamar had a good game, so that triangle with Lamar on the left worked. He played well on the left, so we are starting to see how it's going to work and fit together when they are all on the field.”