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Preview - Columbus Crew Hosts the Seattle Sounders

The Crew is missing a big gun and Seattle is bringing their latest of a whole arsenal to Crew Stadium.

USA TODAY Sports

Federico Higuain will miss the next two games and the Crew will have to figure out how to cope without him. That will be hard since he's scored or assisted in over half of the team's goals this season.

The Lineup: There is no replacing Higuain in the formation. Much like he did with Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Robert Warzycha will likely change the formation to better suit the parts that he has left. That likely means a more traditional 4-4-2.

Lampson; Barson, Williams, Marshall, Viana; Oduro, Trapp, Anor, Meram, Finley, Arrieta

Crew on Offense: Without Higuain, the Crew will likely play more directly. Jairo Arrieta will likely have rookie Ryan Finley to play off of him. While the idea of two forwards may sound promising, the pair have similar skill sets. They are both poachers that are most valuable when they are scoring. Neither Finley or Arrieta excel at holding the ball or dropping deep. They hold the line and try to beat their man.

Beyond the similarities of the forwards, the Crew have a dearth of players with vision without Higuain. On the wings, both Meram and Oduro are forwards by training. They play in a similar direct style as Arrieta and Finley. They aren't creators.

The Crew does have some hope in the middle of the field. Bernardo Anor and Wil Trapp may be forming the beginnings of a solid partnership in the middle. Trapp struggled against Salt Lake, but the Seattle midfield isn't quite the same as the RSL's group. Osvaldo Alonso is a terror, but the Sounders have struggled to find the right partner for him. It may be too much to ask, but the Anor/Trapp pairing is the best chance the Crew have to build an attack rather than strictly counter attack

Crew on Defense: The Crew luck out, a little. Obafemi Martins will be out due to injury. That is one less player to worry about. However Clint Dempsey is a very dangerous player even while he adapts to MLS. Mauro Rosales has the vision to create a goal against a compact defense. Eddie Johnson can also take advantage of lesser skilled defenders.

Columbus does have a chance to bog down the Sounders offense. Seattle struggled with width against Portland. Forcing the ball to the middle suits the Crew. Josh Williams and Chad Marshall are developing a solid partnership. Trapp and Anor are a promising duo in the center of midfield. This keeps the ball away from the lesser defenders on the outside.

Justin Meram plays the more defensive role on the left wing, but his defense is still a work in progress. Oduro stays higher that Meram, leaving a little bit more space for right back Chad Barson to cover. Agustin Viana is finally fully healthy and gives the Crew a fighting chance to hold down the left against the speedy Steve Zakuani or the crafty Brad Evans if he's deployed out wide.

Final Walkthrough: Seattle is starting to find their stride and the Crew are nearly to the point were only pride is on the line. Sigi has always had the upper hand against his former understudy. That's unlikely to change this week.

Crew 0 - Seattle 2