Seattle limped into Columbus at the end of a long series of road matches that have taken a bite out of the lineup. As well as Steve Zakuani and O’Brian White being out indefinitely, Mauro Rosales has been hit and miss with hamstring issues.
The Sounders bench got even sparser when they lost Brad Evans during warm ups with tightness in his quad muscle. Injuries and a hard match in DC on Wednesday night had manager Sigi Schmid juggling the lineup more than usual.
The rain poured down on the pitch, not letting up once during the whole match. Seattle took this to feel like a home game and started fast and strong.
It paid off in the 7th minute and midfielder Erik Friberg took a pass from forward Fredy Montero and held the ball up nicely as Montero continued his run. Friberg lofted the ball nicely into Montero’s direction. Montero redirected the ball with his head beautifully, directing it just inside the right post and into the back of the net.
The Crew didn’t run and hide though. Two minutes later Columbus midfielder Eddie Gaven broke free of the Sounders defense on the right side of the box. Sounders keeper Kasey Keller blocked Gavin’s shot with a diving save.
In all, Columbus outplayed the Sounders and Keller had to make five excellent saves. The one ball Keller didn’t block came from a penalty kick in the 67th minute.
Columbus had a corner kick that Gavin crashed the box to try and take. Referee Mark Kadlecik whistled Seattle defender Patrick Ianni for pulling down Gavin in the box.
I won’t argue whether it was a bad call or not. Personally I believe Ianni did pull Gavin down. However, I’ve seen much worse, say in DC on Wednesday night, that didn’t get a second look from the referee. It’s a judgment call and Columbus spent a lot of time working the ref to get some calls go their way.
The penalty let Crew forward Emilio Rentería lined up the shot, putting the ball to the right. Keller guessed wrong and the score was level at 1-1.
Columbus worked hard to get another goal, but Seattle was happy to leave town with a draw and the point.
Man of the Match:
It has to be Kasey Keller again. Columbus had 17 shots, 7 of them on goal, compared to Seattle’s 6 shots and only 1 on goal. Keller made 5 excellent saves, ensuring that Seattle closed out this stretch of four out of five matches on the road with a 2-1-2 record.
Seattle gets the week off before renewing the Northwest I-5 rivalry with the Portland Timbers at Qwest Field on Saturday night.
Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images