For Seattle Sounders signing Sigi Schmid was clearly one of the most important parts of their success as an expansion franchise, as was picking Brad Evans from the Columbus roster in the Sounders expansion draft. As much as Sounders have been a model for MLS 2.0, Columbus Crew were a model franchise for the beginning of MLS. They were first with a soccer-specific stadium in 1999, first to sign a designated player, Guillermo Barros Schelotto was signed in Columbus and the Crew won MLS Cup in 2008 with Schmid at the helm. Marc Burch is another former Schmid Crew player who is now with Seattle.
Brad Evans was listed as doubtful before the start of the match, but was found laying back in the deep weeds in central midfield and Osvaldo Alonso was found getting into the attack early. A bit of a switch, although they are both play more of a holding role. Getting forward seemed to suit Alonso, who got forward early and made a couple of dangerous passes in the box.
Columbus Crew had Eddie Johnson contained
Columbus put themselves ahead when Adam Johansson let Justin Meram get inside of him on a Dilly Duka cross in the 16th minute to score a header near the 6-yard box. Bryan Meredith didn’t have much of a chance, moving to his left when Meram headed the ball to his right.
David Estrada crossed a ball that had every Columbus defender beat, Eddie Johnson’s run to the inside pulled the defense of off Alvaro Fernandez who had a free header that he put wide of the far post just before the half time whistle. It was certainly the best chance that Sounders had to score in the first half, and they had only managed to get two shots of 10 on target compared to 1 of 3 for Columbus Crew.
To Columbus’ credit they did not sit behind the ball and try and to defend their goal all half. Sounders had the better of possession and shots taken, but it was all bluster. It was another night when Sounders looked dominant, backed up with every stat you can think of but still on the losing end.
The second half was not as entertaining, there was quite a lot of rough play and/or time wasting that prevented the match from developing any free flowing action. Sounders best chance of the second half came early, 51st minute when Fredy Montero hit a low drive to the left of Andy Gruenenbaum who made his best of 6 saves at that moment.
Rookie Bryan Meredith had another solid outing, although he did not make a save, Columbus scored their two goals on two shots on target. Emilio Renteria had the second goal for Columbus Crew in the 76th minute, a high shot that brushed across Meredith’s fingers and into the back of the net.
For Robert Warzycha it would be his first win in seven tries against his old boss Sigi Schmid.
Schmid pointed to individual mistakes of people making the wrong reaction and specifically mentioned Adam Johansson getting a bad bounce against Real Salt Lake, against Vancouver not running with Rochat & Parke not sliding out as examples of letting individual mistakes affect the outcome of the match. “Can’t wait 45 minutes before starting to play,” and you have to take advantage of your opportunities were the chosen cliches of the home manager.
There has been a familiar theme in the Sounders home defeats where they dominate possession, fail to generate dangerous chances, and let their opponent score on a limited number of opportunities. Not exactly an inspired strategy, hoping for an opportunistic goal, but it has been working for teams visiting Seattle.
38,311 in attendance tonight