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Sounders take late 2-1 win over struggling Crew

The Crew seemed set to take a point before a late goal spoiled the night.

MLS: Seattle Sounders FC at Columbus Crew SC Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Crew SC dropped yet another match against MLS Cup contenders, the Seattle Sounders, 2-1 on Saturday night. The first two goals of the night came off of similarly drawn penalty kicks for both teams. For the Crew, Pedro Santos was the one to put it away. Columbus seemed set to come away with a point before Sounders captain Nicolas Lodeiro spoiled the moment in the 96th minute.

This was the end of the team’s three matches in eight games, in which they couldn’t get a single point.

The first half was definitely a more positive look for the Crew then the second, for they were creating chances and playing confidently. The second half showed a more sluggish Columbus side, with far less offensive creativity.

Overall, the Crew played physically, racking up five yellow cards and 16 fouls on the night.

Turnovers ran rampant for both teams early, almost leading to a Crew goal when JJ Williams took advantage of just that, only to be stopped by Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei.

Williams was on the end of another chance shortly after, though couldn’t finish — a far from new problem for the Crew as a whole.

Goalkeeper Joe Bendik was forced to make his first save of the night in the 10th minute when Sounders forward Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez broke away and was one on one with Crew center back Gaston Sauro who could not make up the space in time to keep Bendik from making the save.

On the counter, Williams gave the Crew a chance of their own, but couldn’t get on the end of the cross despite his excellent run into the penalty box.

In the 12th minute, a little bit of luck came the Black & Gold’s way when Santos drew a foul in the 18-yard box that led head referee Christopher Penso to call a penalty. Santos took the penalty kick, driving it hard to the right while Stephen Frei dove the opposite direction, and the Black & Gold were up 1-0 in the 14th minute.

The goal ended the 313-minute scoring drought that had plagued the Crew since June 18.

In his second start of the season, Luis Argudo had a great chance in the 21st minute, but couldn’t get the shot off early enough before being pushed to the end line by the Seattle defense.

After the flurry of chances, both teams seemed to settle. The Crew were confident and on the verge of a second goal, while the Sounders were a little sloppy, unable to put together any offensive chances. The Crew looked to create turnovers, for they let Seattle control possession.

The Black & Gold came close in the 37th minute with a quick 1-2 combination between David Guzman and Waylon Francis. Francis got the shot off, but it sailed over the Sounder’s net.

Guzman drew a foul right outside the 18-yard box in the 46th minute that was facing right at the goal. Guzman took the shot himself, but it flew over the net once again.

Though from stats alone it would appear the Crew was outperformed by the Sounders in the first half, they put up a solid performance and deserved to be up at the break. However, their inability to finish in the run of play continued, as they could’ve been up by multiple goals at the half.

In the 55th minute, Guzman fouled Sounders midfielder Nicolás Lodeiro from behind, giving the Sounders a penalty of their own. Lodeiro put it away, and the game was tied 1-1 in the 56th minute.

In the 59th minute, the Crew came inches from answering. Harrison Afful sent a cross towards Williams who was just ahead of it. Off of the deflection, midfielder Luis Argudo took a well-hit bicycle kick that went just wide.

Sounders midfielder Victor Rodríguez took a shot from out wide left in the 65th minute that was bending beautifully towards the back of the net, forcing Bendik to make his second save of the night at full extension.

The Sounders continued to maintain possession throughout the half, though they looked cleaner overall than they did at the end of the first. Columbus did not keep up with their trend

This sparked the offensive intensity of both teams, though there was no result on either side of the pitch.

In the 81st minute, tensions overflowed on both sides when Columbus chose to play on while Seattle had a man down. When play ended, it was a sea of yellow and green as both teams were in each other’s faces. The chaos went to Video Assistant Referee, and resulted in a yellow card issued to Harrison Afful.

In nine minutes of stoppage time, the Sounders had several chances and in the 96th minute, Lodeiro got his second of the night and gave his team their dream ending. He came in on the left side of the penalty box and headed in the deflected ball, leaving Bendik little chance to stop it.

Fans thought the Black & Gold had equalized in the 99th minute, but Patrick Mullins was called offside after putting the ball in the back of the net for Columbus.

The Black & Gold now point their attention back to Orlando City SC, who they fell to just one week ago. This time, however, there will be far fewer absences due to international duty. The rematch will take place Saturday, July 13 at 7:30 p.m. ET.