Columbus Crew SC vs. Seattle Sounders | 2017 MLS Match Preview

Federico Higuain - Columbus Crew SC - Fires a shot vs. Toronto FC

Columbus Crew SC vs. Seattle Sounders
2017 MLS Regular Season
MAPFRE Stadium - Columbus, Ohio
Wednesday, May 31 - 7:30 p.m. ET

The Seattle Sounders had a great Memorial Day weekend. Columbus Crew SC, not so much. Now, with both sides on short rest (one shorter than the other) going into Wednesday's match at MAPFRE Stadium, two questions are at the forefront.

One, are the Sounders due for a letdown after Saturday's emotional 1-0 Cascadia Cup victory over Portland, especially with Clint Dempsey and Jordan Morris called into the US national team camp for upcoming World Cup qualifiers? And two, can Columbus regroup quickly from Friday's 5-0 pasting by Toronto FC -- a team that hung a five-spot on Crew SC even with one star suspended and one injured?

This is MLS, so the best answer anyone can give is a shrug and a "maybe" -- at least until the 90 minutes are up on Wednesday night.

Columbus Crew SC

Even without having to face Deuce and J-Mo, Columbus could be on the back foot defensively on Wednesday if Sounders playmaker Nicolas Lodeiro is on his game. On Friday, TFC were able to finds space behind the Crew SC defense time and again -- and, tellingly, creator Victor Vazquez had a lot to do with that, in the absence of Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco.

On the flip side, Crew SC are at home, and that always counts for a lot in this league. Columbus are 4-2-1 at MAPFRE, while Seattle have won just one of seven away dates.

Also, Justin Meram is pretty good -- and the attacking midfield star is going to have something to prove on Wednesday, after being taken out for Artur in the 40th minute of Friday's loss. 

  • Suspensions: None
  • Int’l Duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT – D Gaston Sauro (left PCL surgery), M Ben Swanson (right ankle surgery); QUESTIONABLE: M Ethan Finlay (left knee contusion)

Projected Starting Lineup (4-2-3-1): Zack Steffen – Hector Jimenez, Nicolai Naess, Jonathan Mensah, Waylon Francis – Wil Trapp, Mohammed Abu – Kekuta Manneh, Federico Higuain, Justin Meram – Ola Kamara

Notes: Columbus is only one of two teams to have taken a five-goal loss in MLS play this season. Expansion side Minnesota United is the other. On the other hand, they've won three of their last five games against Seattle (3-2-0), allowing just five goals in those matches.

Seattle Sounders

As bad as Columbus were defensively on Friday, that still doesn't mean a scorefest is in the offing for Seattle -- and the absence of Deuce and J-Mo can only exacerbate the Sounders' offensive struggles of late. The Sounders do have back-to-back wins going for them -- but they've also scored just three goals in their last five matches, and Saturday's winner came on a set-piece header, not during the run of play. 

They can't call on Will Bruin to step into the front line, either, as he's out with an elbow injury.

That said, the defense  has been a lot better since a 3-0 midweek rout against Sporting Kansas City two weeks ago. The Sounders haven't conceded since then, even without defender Roman Torres and d-mid stopper Osvaldo Alonso, and 'keeper Stefan Frei wasn't tested much at all against the Timbers over the weekend.

  • Suspensions: None
  • International Duty: F Clint Dempsey (United States), F Jordan Morris (United States)
  • Injury Report: OUT – D/M Henry Wingo (right ankle sprain), F Will Bruin (left elbow dislocation); QUESTIONABLE – M Aaron Kovar (groin surgery), D Roman Torres (left hamstring strain), M Osvaldo Alonso (right quad tightness)

Projected Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Stefan Frei – Brad Evans, Chad Marshall, Tony Alfaro, Joevin Jones – Cristian Roldan, Osvaldo Alonso – Alvaro Fernandez, Jordy Delem, Nicolas Lodeiro – Harry Shipp

Notes: Seattle are coming off back-to-back wins for the first time this season, yet have won just one of their seven road games this season (1-4-2). They've conceded multiple goals in five of those seven away matches, including seven combined in their last two.

All-Time Record

  • Seattle holds the advantage (5-3-3) in 11 matchups to date, with a plus-7 goal differential.
  • Oddly for MLS, Crew SC have struggled to defend home turf, tallying a lone win in five attempts (1-3-1) at MAPFRE.


Referee: Dave Gantar
Assistant Referees: CJ Morgante, Peter Manikowski
Fourth Official Fotis Bazakos