Columbus Crew SC appeared to be looking ahead to the two other games coming up when the team rolled out a heavily-rotated lineup for the Saturday afternoon matchup with the Seattle Sounders. But after playing a man down for 75 minutes, head coach Gregg Berhalter and the rest of the Black & Gold will be happy with a well earned 0-0 draw.
Pedro Santo picked a red card just 15 minutes into the game. As the Portuguese winger attempted to clear a ball into touch, his high follow through caught Alex Roldan in the chest. After referee Hilario Grajeda turned to video review, Santos was sent off, as the replay showed his cleats clearly catching the Sounders’ winger in the face and neck.
Columbus settled into the disadvantage and looked to play quickly. The team was able to create a couple early chances, with the first coming in the 20th minute. Starting with goalkeeper Zack Steffen, Crew SC played seven quick passes to push the ball into the attacking third. Gyasi Zardes was able to get a shot from a tight angle, driven right at Steffen Frei, who easily saved.
Just two minutes later, Crew SC again cut through the Seattle defense. Starting with a Cristian Martinez back pass under pressure, Columbus quickly played a series of short passes to break the initial defense. Left back Milton Valenzuela moved into the center channel and slipped a ball into Zardes one on one with Frei. His shot slid just wide.
Again, Columbus would have a good shot at the Seattle goal after a counter. Federico Higuain broke the Sounders’ lines and found Ricardo Clark in space. Clark pushed up and lobbed a cross in the box to Zardes at the top of the six-yard box. Zardes took a touch off his chest with his back to goal and deftly chipped a pass to Valenzuela who took a one-touch shot from close, but pushed it over goal.
Crew SC closed out the half, keeping the Sounders off the board and limiting them to eight off target shots in the first half.
The Sounders finally had their first decent chance, as Clint Dempsey one-timed a driven cross that slid just past Steffen’s post. The home side still hadn’t recorded their first shot on goal, but it showed some attacking intent.
Seattle finally got the team’s first shot on goal in the 73rd minute. Will Bruin slipped in past the high defensive line. He pulled a cross back into the six-yard box to Dempsey. His close-range shot was smothered by a big Steffen save. The Black & Gold defense cleared the danger.
The home side poured numbers forward in the final 15 minutes and Crew SC were content to draw deeper into their defensive shell. The Sounders struggled to break down the committed defensive effort.
One Shot Club
Crew SC gave up one shot three times this season before today. Each time it turned into a goal. Seattle had 75 minutes against a 10-man team on the road. They got off one shot, but weren’t able to score.
The back three of Alex Crognale (who came in after the red card), Lalas Abubakar, and Josh Williams formed an impenetrable wall. Hector Jimenez and especially Milton Valenzuela cut down on dangerous passes from the wing. Wil Trapp and Ricardo Clark were tireless in closing down space in front of the defense.
Columbus moves to 4-3-3 with 15 points on the season with the tie. It’s a short turnaround for Crew SC, as the team now faces the Philadelphia Union at home on Wednesday evening at 7:30 p.m. ET They the group takes on the Chicago Fire Saturday for a two-game week at MAPFRE Stadium.