Crew eager to finally snap Seattle hex

Black & Gold looking for another first this year with a win at Seattle

Robert Warzycha

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It’s already been a year of change for the Columbus Crew, and they’ve
got the chance again this weekend to break down another nagging
barrier.

The Crew — who already this season have snapped road hexes in Houston
and at Real Salt Lake — are winless in two league tries as well as last
year’s US Open Cup final in Seattle, and they’re back for another shot
against the Sounders on Saturday (4 pm ET, watch LIVE online).

“We’ve had some good showings there, just unlucky with some goals,”
defender Chad Marshall said. “Hopefully this is a time we can go there
and play the best we can and come out with three points."

“Obviously they’re having a great season,” he added. “They’re good at
home and their fans are incredible. It’s a tough atmosphere.”

But it’s the kind of challenge the Crew (11-7-7) need if they are to stay atop the Eastern Conference down the stretch.

“We don’t want easy games right now,” midfielder Danny O’Rourke said.
“We’ve put ourselves in a position where we have a good chance to make
the playoffs and make a push. The more games we get in a playoff-like
atmosphere against a good team like Seattle, I think that will be a good
test for us.”

There’s another hex here, too. The Crew still haven’t beaten Sigi
Schmid, the coach who led them to the 2008 MLS Cup, since he took over
the expansion Sounders the following season. His 3-0-3 mark (including
the Open Cup) against his former club includes a 1-1 tie in Crew Stadium
on May 7.

O’Rourke, however, said the matchup has long since moved past the
storyline of Schmid vs. his ex-players and his successor, Robert
Warzycha.

“You can count on one hand the number of players who played for Sigi,”
he said. “It’s Robert’s team now. Sigi’s in Seattle. We don’t even think
anything of that.”

Warzycha said there is a simple formula if the Crew are to be successful.

“The games that we won, whether it’s Houston or Salt Lake, we worked hard and we were very organized as a team,” he said.

The Crew have scored just eight goals in 12 games away from home this season, and have been shut out six times.

“It’s not that we aren’t getting the chances,” Warzycha said. “If we
put a few away we’d probably score first and put some pressure on the
team playing at home.”

The Crew will be without midfielder Eddie Gaven (leg contusion) for a
third straight game, midfielder Robbie Rogers is questionable with a
gimpy left ankle and defender Julius James will serve a caution-points
suspension. Rookies Rich Balchan or Eric Gehrig are candidates to start
at center back.