The Columbus Crew took their perfect start to the 2014 season on the road to face the Seattle Sounders. Head Coach Gregg Berhalter believed that this would be the stiffest to date, meeting one of the league's favorites in one of MLS' toughest environments, but the Crew left Seattle with a 2-1 win.
There was little to the feeling out process to start the match with both teams looking to attack early and often. Neither team was able to capitalize on good opportunities in the opening stages of the match, but that changed after 22 minutes.
Center back Giancarlo Gonzalez lost out on a 50/50 ball to Obafemi Martins. His touch found Kenny Cooper with acres of space near midfielder and the striker headed straight to goal. Despite being closed down by defender Michael Parkhurst, Cooper fired a rocket past goalkeeper Steve Clark for his first goal for the Sounders and a 1-0 lead for the home side.
A giveaway from Tony Tchani to Gonzalo Pineda gave the Sounders a chance to double their lead before the half. Martins found Lamar Neagle in the box but Clark made a big reflex save on the shot from 12 yards out.
The Crew had two glorious opportunities to pull level before the break when Federico Higuain found himself in on goal. The Argentine went for the chip of goalkeeper Stefan Frei, but found only the crossbar. The rebound dropped to the head of the reigning MLS Player of the Week, Bernardo Anor, but he put the header from the top of the six-yard box wide of the open net.
The game was turned on its head in the 58th minute when forward Dominic Oduro - making his first start of the season - latched on to the end of a ball played over the top in the six-yard box. His effort was saved by Frei but experienced defender Djimi Traore was judged to have fouled Oduro on the attempt. A penalty kick was awarded and Traore was shown a straight red card for a foul on the last man.
Higuain stepped up to the spot and tied the game at 1-1 with his third goal in three games and second from 12 yards out.
In the final 10 minutes, Columbus began to apply serious pressure, taking advantage of playing a man up for the final 30 minutes of the match.
This pressure paid off in final seconds of stoppage. Higuain played a quick corner to the top of the box to second half substitute Justin Meram. The forward/winger took a touch before curling a shot into the far side of the goal and sealing a third consecutive win for his side in dramatic fashion.
The Black and Gold will bring their unblemished record back home next Saturday as they renew their Trillium Cup rivalry with Toronto F.C.