SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC v. COLUMBUS CREW SC Pre-Match analysis

by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR), Oakland, CA

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. Time to face the auld enemy. Crew SC, a founding club of the league, must visit us in the fortress that is Royal Brougham Park. We’ve been at each other since 2009, when Sounders FC joined the MLS. We know what to expect. The expectations are always high for our yellow-shirted rivals at Silver Drive. We’ll meet a team well prepared to face us. We’ll see who prevails in the test. It’s no worry to me though. I know that our lads will give their very best. No one in this squad lets the side down. When someone drops out through injury or lack of form, another lad steps in. That is the Green way. In an equal test, it is my firm belief we shall be victorious. As I always do, I raise my glass to my fellow supporters, in the auld toast: TO THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FOOTBALL CLUB…AND VICTORY!

The Good News
We have seven results in 10 matches against the Ohioans during our short history in the league. We’ve only lost to Columbus twice at home in five matches. Royal Brougham Park is an intimidating place to play away football. Our support will be deafening, it would unnerve even the sternest of souls. If Anderson should feature in the side for us, he once won the Golden Boot in the NLA Premier League of St. Vincent & the Grenadines. Granted it’s a small league, but goals are goals, and finishers are finishers. Marshall and Mears are rocks in the back. They are well decorated, experienced defenders and will play accordingly. Joevin Jones has exciting upside as an attacking wing defender. Joevin excelled in the TT Pro League in Trinidad. This footballing background will serve him well as he represents us in the Rave Green. Stefan Frei is a proper goalkeeper. I had the pleasure of watching him play at Edwards Stadium when he was at Cal ($8 a go, what a deal!). A member of the Cal ladies’ team once said to me “Stefan inspires me to become a goalkeeper”. That’s got to count for something. Injuries and defections will provide opportunities in the team for young talent. This is their time to shine. If they excel, the masses at Occidental Avenue will cheer their names at the top of their lungs.

The Bad News
We play better against Columbus on the road (3-1-1). Crew SC do have a handful of defenders that are quite experienced, and who have won honours in their career. Amongst these are: Wahl, Parkhurst, Ashe (if fit), Sauro,(if fit) and Afful. Wahl is a known quantity as he played for us in our recent past, helping us win two US Open Cups. Parkhurst is a decorated international for the Yanks with two CONCACAF Gold Cups to his name. Ashe was a mainstay for US youth sides, and was twice named an MLS All-Star. Sauro featured in both Argentina and Switzerland for Boca Juniors and FC Basel. Afful was a star in the Tunisian league with 60 caps for Ghana under his belt. The Columbus defense is experienced, and well-drilled. If Dempsey, Valdez, and Ivanschitz fail fitness tests, it falls to Morris and Gómez to pick up the slack. Evans is unavailable for selection as he was sent off last week, so the skipper sits this one out. Conor Casey is getting on in years, but he is a deadly finisher should he feature. Crew SC have won their last two matches, whereas we had somewhat less success in Commerce City last week.

The Rest
Crew SC’s manager is Greg Berhalter. Berhalter is a USA international who played in tough leagues for such clubs as: Sparta Rotterdam, Cambuur Leeuwarden, Crystal Palace, Energie Cottbus, 1860 Munich, then finally landing at LA Galaxy. Columbus have chosen a proper manager. The Tenafly, NJ native will work his socks off, as he did as a player. Not to mention, Berhalter is Susie Falkowski’s cousin. Susie makes some of the best pickles in the East End of Long Island, but I digress.

Familiar Faces
Columbus defender Tyson Wahl played 85 matches for California Golden Bears with eight goals. He also played 39 times for Sounders FC with one goal, and was part of two US Open Cup winning teams wearing the Rave Green of Seattle.

Selections for Last Match
Sounders FC: Frei, Mears, Evans, Marshall, Joevin Jones, Alonso, Roldan, Ivanschitz, Anderson, Morris, Gómez.

Bench: Miller (gk), Scott, Fisher, Friberg, Remick, Kovar, Darwin Jones.

Columbus: Clark, Afful, Parkhurst, Wahl, Francis, Trapp, Saeid, Finlay, Higuaín, Meram, Kai Kamara.

Bench: Stuver (gk), Tarek, Ola Kamara, Cedrick, Jiménez, Saravia, Casey.

Injury List
Seattle Sounders FC-
OUT: Torres (ACL).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Dempsey (groin), Valdez (hamstring), Ivanschitz (thigh), Farfan (hamstring).

Crew SC-
MATCHDAY DECISION: Sauro (hamstring), Tchani (calf), Ashe (thigh), Saeid (concussion symptoms).

Discipline
Seattle Sounders FC: Evans (Sent Off).
Crew SC: none.

Fun Fact
In Seattle Sounders first three seasons of MLS we were unbeaten against Columbus in the league (3-3-0).

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