Armed with an increasingly productive Fredy Montero, the Sounders look to continue the domination of the Crew Wednesday night.
MATCH: Columbus Crew (3-4-3, 12 points, 7th, East Conf.) at Seattle Sounders FC (7-2-2, 23 points, 3rd, West Conf.). TYPE: MLS. WHEN: Wednesday, 7 p.m., CenturyLink Field. MEETING: 7th (Sounders lead 3-0-3 MLS, 4-0-3 all competitions). TV: KONG 6/16. RADIO: 97.3 KIRO FM; SPANISH: La Gran D 99.3 FM.
If the Sounders relish playing any team, it’s the Columbus Crew.In addition to having never lost to Columbus, the Sounders have tallied at least one goal in every match and enjoy a 14-6 aggregate goals advantage.
Those goals have come early and often for the Sounders, who have three of the fastest goals in franchise history (fourth minute) against Columbus, as well as two of the club’s three hat tricks (Blaise Nkufo, Sept. 18, 2010 and Lamar Neagle, Aug. 27, 2011).
In addition, two of Seattle’s largest margins of victory (four goals) have come against the Ohioans, including the 6-2 result in Columbus’ last visit to Seattle, in which the Sounders registered four first-half tallies. Sounders FC has scored 10 of its 14 goals in the series in the first 45 minutes.
The Crew is tied with the Montreal Impact for seventh place in the Eastern Conference, totaling 12 points through 10 matches. Columbus has lost once in its past five outings (1-1-3) after losing three of the first five to start the season.
Columbus has been held scoreless four times but has multiple goals in three games. Of more importance for Seattle, Columbus has scored a league-low two goals on the road while the Sounders have allowed more than one goal in just one match, that at Vancouver last Saturday (2-2 draw).
Columbus coach Robert Warzycha, who once headed the Poland national team, uses a 4-4-2 attack that has produced nine goals this season, with no player scoring more than twice (Columbus is not living up to the franchise slogan “Dare To Be Massive.”)
Seven players have scored, led by midfielder Eddie Gaven and forward Justin Meram with two apiece. Gaven, a 25-year-old veteran in his 10th MLS season, has 44 goals and 31 assists in 244 career games. Meram, a first-round pick in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft out of Michigan, made his 2012 debut May 5 at Portland and has played each game since, scoring goals in the last two.
The Sounders have won four season series and the Columbus match will give Seattle an opportunity to capture a fifth before the end of May.
On the injury front, midfielder Brad Evans, ailing with a calf injury, practiced this week and is expected to be ready to play Wednesday. But coach Sigi Schmid has ruled out goalkeeper Michael Gspurning for the Columbus match. Schmid said Gspurning might be ready to play next week.
SERIES: Dates to May 30, 2009, when the Sounders and Crew played to a 1-1 draw in front of 29,126 at Qwest Field, Seattle’s goal coming from Nate Jaqua. Sounders hold a 3-0-3 record in MLS play and 4-0-3 record in all competitions (one U.S. Open Cup match). Sounders have twice beaten Columbus by four-goal margins (4-0, 6-2) and lead in aggregate goals 14-5 in MLS play. Teams last met Aug. 27, 2011, at CenturyLink Field, Seattle winning 6-2. In that game, Lamar Neagle scored the second hat trick in club history and Mauro Rosales had a goal and two assists.
LAST MATCH (Sounders, May 19): Fredy Montero scored the equalizer in the 90th minute as the Sounders earned a 2-2 Cascadia Cup draw with the Vancouver Whitecaps. The victory enabled Seattle to remain unbeaten (2-0-3) against Cascadia teams. Seattle twice pulled even with second-half goals from Eddie Johnson and Montero. Johnson and Montero also recorded assists, along with Mauro Rosales. The Sounders (7-2-2, 23 points) extended their MLS-best road undefeated streak to nine games (7-0-2) and remained unbeaten (1-0-2) against the Whitecaps.
LAST MATCH (Crew, May 20): Alan Gordon slipped a goal past Andy Gruenebaum in the 90th minute, giving the San Jose Earthquakes a 1-1 draw at Buck Shaw Stadium. Justin Meram, a second-year striker, tallied the Columbus goal.
SOUNDERS STATS / NOTES
|Starts||Estrada 10, Montero 10, Alonso 10, 3 with 8|
|Goals||Estrada 4, Montero 4, Johnson 3, Rosales 1, Evans 1, Scott 1|
|Assists||Fernandez 2, Rosales 2, Caskey 2, Montero 2|
|Shots||Montero 52, Estrada 20, Johnson 18, Alonso 8, Evans 7, Caskey 7|
|Shots On Goal||Montero 20, Estrada 8, Johnson 4, Rosales 2, Evans 2, Scott 2|
|Fouls Caused||Montero 22, Alonso 16, Johnson 13, Parke 9, Scott 8|
|Fouls Suffered||Montero 26, Alonso 20, Estrada 11, Fernandez 11, Johnson 11|
|Offsides||Johnson 10, Montero 6, Estrada 4, Fernandez 1|
|Corner Kicks||Rosales 19, Fernandez 16, Caskey 9, Burch 2|
|Cautions||Montero 3, Johnson 3, Scott 2, Alonso 2|
COACHES: Sigi Schmid became first head coach of Seattle Sounders FC Dec. 16, 2008, and is in his fourth year. Born in Tübingen, Germany, Schmid relocated with his family to the U.S. in 1956, and to Torrance, CA., in 1962. He was a four-year starter at UCLA (1972-75) and graduated with a B.S. degree in economics in 1976.
Schmid later earned a M.A. in business administration from Southern California. A certified public accountant, Schmid coached the Los Angeles Galaxy from 1999 through 2004, winning four major competitions: 2002 MLS Cup, 2002 MLS Supporters Shield, 2001 U.S. Open Cup and the 2001 CONCACAF Champions Cup. He coached the Columbus Crew from 2006-08, winning the MLS Cup in his final season.
In 2009, under Schmid’s direction, the Sounders became the first expansion team to reach the MLS playoffs since the 1998 Chicago Fire. The Sounders also won the U.S. Open Cup in Schmid’s first season. They added their second and third U.S. Open Cup titles in 2010 and 2011.
Robert Warzycha: Warzycha has coached the Crew since 2009. Prior to that, he worked as a Columbus assistant coach under Sigi Schmid (2003-08) following a long career (1996-02) as a Columbus player. Warzycha also played for the Poland national team from 1987-93. On March 25, 2000, Warzycha scored the first-ever regular-season “Golden Goal” in Major League Soccer history to defeat the San Jose Earthquakes 2-1.
COMING UP: After playing Columbus Wednesday, the Sounders play at Chivas Saturday. On Wednesday, May 30, the Sounders will host the Atlanta Silverbacks in a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup contest at Starfire Sports Stadium in Tukwila, WA. The Sounders then take a break until June 16, when they play at Montreal. The Sounders will not return to Seattle until June 20.
Seattle Sounders FC 2012 Schedule / Results
(7-2-2, 23 points, MLS; 1-1 CCL)
|4/7||^at DC United||4:30||KING||D||0-0||2-1-1|
|5/9||^at FC Dallas||5:30||KONG||W||2-0||7-1-1|
|6/30||^vs. New England||4:30||KING||—||—||—|
|7/15||^at New York||1:00||ESPN||—||—||—|
|8/5||^vs. LA Galaxy||6:00||ESPN2||—||—||—|
|8/11||^at San Jose||7:30||KING||—||—||—|
|9/2||^at FC Dallas||4:00||KING||—||—||—|
|10/21||^vs. FC Dallas||6:00||ESPN||—||—||—|
|10/28||^at LA Galaxy||6:00||ESPN||—||—||—|
*=CONCACAF; ^=Major League Soccer; #=International friendly; &=U.S. Open Cup