Preview: Crew vs. Sounders FC

Crew look to break the winless streak against the Sounders

The Columbus Crew will be looking to do something they’ve never done
when they play host to Seattle Sounders FC on Saturday at Crew Stadium.
Riding a six-match undefeated streak after last weekend 2-1 win against
Vancouver, the
Crew have never defeated Seattle at home, losing both previous meetings
in Ohio. Sounders FC started their two-game Eastern swing on Wednesday
with a 2-1 loss at D.C. United.

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REFEREE: Mark Kadlecik. SAR (bench): Steven Taylor;
JAR (opposite): James Conlee; 4th: Mark Geiger MLS Career: 2 games;
FC/gm: 20.0; Y/gm: 3.0; R: 1; pens: 0

INJURY REPORT: COLUMBUS CREW – OUT: MF Danny
O'Rourke (L knee Surgery); DF Josh Williams (R hip labral tear);
QUESTIONABLE: FW Tom Heinemann (R pes anserine bursitis); DF Shaun
Francis (L hamstring strain) …
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC – OUT: FW O’Brian White (L leg surgery); MF Steve Zakuani (R leg fracture); PROBABLE: FW Pat Noonan (R quad strain)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: CLB: Kevin Burns; Julius James … SEA: Leo Gonzalez

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (4 meetings): Sounders FC 2 wins, 7 goals … Crew 0 wins, 2 goals … Ties 2
AT COLUMBUS (2 meetings): Sounders FC 2 wins, 5 goals … Crew 0 wins, 0 goals … Ties 0
RETURN MATCH: 8/27: Seattle Sounders FC vs. Columbus Crew, 1 p.m. PT
LAST YEAR (MLS):
5/1: SEA 1, CLB 1 (Zakuani 4 – Lenhart 45)
9/18: CLB 0, SEA 4 (Nkufo 4, 39, 75; Sturgis 42)

  • Sounders FC are unbeaten in five all-time meetings with the Crew –
    four in league play, as well as a victory in the U.S. Open Cup Final
    last year.
  • Sounders FC have won both previous encounters at Crew Stadium – the
    Crew have yet to score a goal against Seattle on their home ground,
    while conceding five.
  • Coaches record: Sigi Schmid v CLB: P16 W7 L3 D6 … Robert Warzycha vs. SEA: P4 W0 L2 D2

COLUMBUS CREW
The Columbus Crew made it six matches without loss, holding on for a
2-1 win against Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday evening at Crew
Stadium. The Crew have 12 points from 7 games on the season, starting
the week in a tie for
third place in the Eastern Conference.

LAST MATCH

  • The Crew broke through just after the second-half restart. Emilio
    Renteria pounced on a loose ball, and after he was tripped up in the box
    by Whitecaps FC goalkeeper Jay Nolly, he converted his own penalty.
  • Just nine minutes later, Rentería made it 2-0 when Rusmir took a pass
    from Dilly Duka, spun and found Rentería in stride in the box. The
    Venezuelan international got inside of his defender to finish with a
    first-time left-footed shot.
  • Vancouver reduced the deficit in the 69th minute when Omar Salgado
    scored his first professional goal, heading home a cross from the left
    by Terry Dunfield.
  • Crew head coach Robert Warzycha made two changes to the team that
    coming back for a 1-1 draw with Toronto FC at BMO Field. Josh Gardner
    came in for Rich Balchan at fullback, and Dejan Rusmir started in place
    of Emmanuel Ekpo.
  • COLUMBUS CREW (4-2-3-1): William Hesmer - Sebastian Miranda, Chad
    Marshall, Julius James, Josh Gardner - Dilly Duka (Leandre Griffit 88),
    Dejan Rusmir - Eddie Gaven, Kevin Burns (Emmanuel Ekpo 67), Robbie
    Rogers - Emilio Renteria (Jeff Cunningham 78).

TEAM NEWS

  • The Crew allowed their first goal in 339 minutes of play at Crew
    Stadium this season, but still held on for the 2-1 win against
    Vancouver.
  • "I didn't like the way the end of the second half went," center back
    Chad Marshall said. "We need to do better at killing off games. We
    should have been knocking the ball around and making them run. We gave
    the ball away cheaply."
  • The Crew have still not lost since the 3-1 First Kick defeat by D.C.
    United. "I think we're starting to hit our stride," Eddie Gaven said to
    the Columbus Dispatch. "I don't think we've played our best soccer yet,
    but you can see some signs there. At times we were very, very good."
  • Emilio Renteria has scored all three of his goals this season in the
    last two games, including netting the Crew’s third penalty kick (in
    seven total goals) this season. "This is the first time I've scored with
    the left foot," Renteria said.
  • With returnee Shaun Francis out with a hamstring injury, rookie Rich
    Balchan had held the starting job at left back from the start of the
    season. But with Balchan sidelined with an illness for the Vancouver
    match, Josh Gardner moved into the left back slot and made a goal-line
    clearance to preserve the Crew lead.
  • “It’s great to have both guys as assets,” goalkeeper William Hesmer
    said. “And we’ve got [Francis], too. Left back for a lot of teams is a
    huge trouble spot. It looks like we’ve got an embarrassment of riches
    there now.”
  • Gardner is nominally a midfielder, who has been playing the lower
    divisions in the last few years after making his last MLS appearance for
    the LA Galaxy in 2006.
  • “He’s got more experience than Rich, obviously,” Hesmer said. “Rich is
    more raw. Josh is good with his feet. He’s serving a good ball, he can
    pass well. He doesn’t have the recovery that Rich does to cover up for
    other mistakes. He doesn’t have Rich’s speed, but Rich is one of the
    fastest guys I’ve seen.”
  • In the midfield, Dejan Rusmir returned to the team in place of
    Emmanuel Ekpo while second-year player Dilly Duka held down a starting
    spot for a second consecutive week.
  • “We’re playing different than the Crew usually plays,” Duka said.
    “We’re playing with five midfielders, so we’re definitely enjoying the
    ball more. It’s been coming. We’ve been training good all week and it
    showed. [Last] Thursday in an intra-squad game, we were clicking there
    and it rubbed off [on Saturday]."

SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC

  • Seattle Sounders FC had their unbeaten streak come to an end to start a
    two-game Eastern road swing, falling 2-1 to D.C. United on Wednesday
    evening at RFK Stadium. Sounders FC have 12 points from 9 games on the
    season, sitting in a tie for third place in the Western Conference.

LAST MATCH

  • United struck first in the 31st minute. Andy Najar’s through ball found Davies in space down the right flank.
  • After shrugging off the challenge of Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Davies
    squared a perfect ball for Josh Wolff, who slammed a shot first-time
    past Kasey Keller.
  • The same offensive trio teamed to double D.C.’s lead in the 52nd
    minute. Najar once again created space on the ball, and slotted in Wolff
    on the right wing. Wolff this time played provider, sending in an
    inch-perfect cross for Davies to tap home for his league-leading sixth
    goal of the season.
  • Sounders FC pulled a goal back when Fredy Montero won a penalty, and
    Brad Evans converted from the spot, but Seattle could not maintain their
    perfect record at RFK Stadium.
  • Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid made no changes to the team that defeated Toronto FC 3-0 at Qwest Field.
  • SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-1-3-2): Kasey Keller – James Riley (Mauro
    Rosales 59), Patrick Ianni, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Tyson Wahl – Osvaldo
    Alonso – Brad Evans, Erik Friberg, Alvaro Fernandez (Leo Gonzalez 76) –
    Fredy Montero, Nate Jaqua (Roger Levesque 64).

TEAM NEWS

  • Sounders FC hadn’t lost since dropping 1-0 decisions to both New York and LA to open the season.
  • “I think we started out a little bit too flat, and we knew (D.C.
    United) was a team with their back against the wall,” Seattle midfielder
    Brad Evans said. “For us, we didn’t play as well as we did last week,
    especially as far as moving the ball and keeping the ball in possession
    in our attacking half of the field. We still created a number of
    chances, and it was just a matter of putting them away.”
  • The goal scored by United midway through the first half was the first allowed by Sounders FC in 268 minutes.
  • Sounders FC had come away with victories on each of their first three
    visits to RFK Stadium. They now head to Columbus were they are also
    perfect, with two wins in two trips to face the Crew.
  • "It's tough to go into a place and win four games in a row, that's for
    sure," Evans said. "To have a record like that of three victories is
    good, but for us we take away a few things we need to work on in this
    game and move forward."
  • Over the final 20 minutes, after Sounders FC had pulled to within one,
    Mauro Rosales suffered a hamstring injury. But as Sigi Schmid had used
    all three available substitutes, Rosales had to carry on – though he
    couldn’t run.
  • "In the second half we got back into the game, and I really thought
    we'd get the equalizer, but Mauro Rosales pulls his hamstring in the
    last 12 minutes — he's just standing on the field, he can't move
    anymore," Schmid said.
  • Brad Evans has scored the last three goals for Sounders FC, since
    moving to a wide midfield spot, the last two coming from the penalty
    spot.
  • “We were able to get some pressure in the box, but it wasn’t cohesive
    enough and sometimes I think we ran too much. Brad Evans always gives
    you a good effort and Erik Friberg gives you a big effort, but sometimes
    I think they ran too much ahead of the play instead of coming in behind
    the play,” Kasey Keller said. “So as a result of that, we had too many
    guys close together and when the ball popped free it seemed like every
    second ball fell to [D.C.] because we were on top of each other.”