Pregame 27: Sounders @ Crew
There will be an air of familiarity at Crew Stadium tonight. Sigi Schmid returns to the scene of his last resurrection act. For the first time, Schmid will face the full fury of the team and fans he was instrumental in creating. The Crew will face the only coach that may know them as well as their own.
For al of the history, it probably won’t mean much at kickoff. Seattle is scrapping for points to get to the playoffs. The Crew will be looking to close out the Eastern Conference race and move towards securing the Supporters Shield. In other words, both teams have plenty to play for without worrying about who is on the sideline.
Crew on Offense: The lineup juggling will continue with a match last Tuesday. Schelotto, Moreno, Rogers, and Ekpo played extensively against Saprissa so Warzycha will probably look to a combination of Lenhart, Renteria, and Gaven. It’s an embarrassment of riches that hasn’t been firing on all cylinders recently.
Saprissa, Chicago, and Houston have all stymied the Crew offense for long stretches. Seattle’s defense isn’t as stout as those and there is plenty of talent, but it comes down to final third execution. The wings haven’t been effective, either through dribbling or crossing and will need to improve to pull the Seattle defense around and open things up for the strikers.
Crew on Defense: Juggling the lineup will continue on defense as well, but more out of necessity. Marshall remains injured and Hejduk is suspended. So the ragtag back line will again have to stop a dynamic offense. With Ljungburg, Montero, and Zakuani Seattle has players who can score. It’s very fortunate that Zayner, Iro, and Brunner have been more than solid when called upon.
Final Thoughts: This is a game the Crew should win. They are the better team, in better form, against a team that is slipping, and against their former coach to keep them sharp. It is also the end of a long series of games in a short amount of time and Columbus has looked fatigued at times. I think they have enough left in the tank to hold of a Seattle team fighting for their lives.
Seattle 1 – Crew 1