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The Sports Page: Crew Falls to Seattle

 Corey Barnes The Sports Page: Crew Falls to Seattle
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Columbus Crew Week in Review:

There is something about the Seattle Sounders that the Columbus Crew cannot seem to figure out. In six regular season matchups since 2009, the Sounders first MLS season, the Crew lugs a tawdry 0-3-3 record against Seattle. The Puzzle in Green and Blue were victorious once again on Saturday with an emphatic 6-2 victory over the Crew. There was, however, some good news for the Crew in the form of some MLS history.

If any of the Sounders faithful showed up even twenty minutes late to the match, they would have missed two quick goals. Seattle scored in the fourth minute on a cross field shot from midfielder Lamar Neagle. Crew keeper William Hesmer was able to deflect the ball but momentum carried it over the line and into the goal. In the sixteenth minute a penalty was called against Columbus’ rookie defenseman Rich Balchan. Seattle was awarded a penalty kick and Mauro Rosales converted to give the Sounders an early 2-0 lead. The home team netted a third goal in the twenty-first minute. James Riley served up a terrific centering pass over the Crew’s defenders where Neagle was waiting to score his second goal of the contest. Not satisfied with their advantage, the Sounders pushed the lead to 4-0 in the fortieth minute with a slick bit of ball control and touch from Mike Fucito. Halftime could not come soon enough for the Black and Gold.

By its nature, soccer lacks sacred records. The limited ways of keeping track of offensive statistics leave two major marks of distinction: goals and assists. Jeff Cunningham now stands alone as the all-time leading regular season goal scorer in MLS history with 134 goals. Period. It only took 13 years over five teams to get to the record.

In the 59th minute he converted a penalty kick to cut the Seattle edge to 4-1. Seattle rebuilt their lead on the final third of Neagle’s hat trick, a blast past Hesmer in the 70th minute. Columbus showed some spirit in the one-sided affair. Crewman Josh Gardner managed a goal in the 73rd minute to draw the game to 5-2. Unfortunately any favor he curried was lost in the next minute when he allowed an own goal to account for the final 6-2 margin.

The loss did not cost Columbus their first place slotting in the Eastern Conference. They have 40 points, a record of 11-8-7, and a four point buffer between them and second place Houston. The Crew is off this upcoming weekend and will return to action at home on Saturday September 10th against Toronto FC. This Seattle team is good but there is no reason the contest should have been such a laugher. A combination of mental errors, sloppy defense, and bad bounces just worked against Columbus. The Sounders could potentially be a postseason opponent so this team needs to work out a way to solve the Emerald City Enigma.

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