After winning their respective home opener matches, Columbus Crew SC and Seattle In a battle of two teams that won their Week 1 games in Major League Soccer, the Seattle Sounders faced off with Columbus Crew SC in the frigid Cascadia weather at CenturyLink Field. It was a typical battle of MLS teams with the home team creating most of the chances but the Black & Gold holding on for a 1-1 draw.
Seattle was gifted a corner kick early in the match in the fourth minute of play. A shot from distance by the Soundrws forced goalkeeper Eloy Room to make a save early on.
After playing defensively for the first nine minutes of the match, the Crew was finally able to gain some possession and make a few good runs in on goal, but couldn’t convert any chances.
A dangerous free kick won by Seattle just at the top of the 18-yard box in the 11th minute saw Joevin Jones take the quick set piece, just to have it blocked by the yellow brick wall to keep the score level at 0-0. Both teams continued to get their chances, but Seattle got the better end of the stick, looking to exploit the space behind the Black & Gold backline.
Columbus finally broke the ice when Gyasi Zardes was able to tap in a cross from Luis Diaz to put the Black & Gold up on the reigning MLS Cup champions in the 34th minute. The play started with a switch of play from Artur to that found Diaz wide.
After the goal, Columbus looked to have taken control of the game. The Crew was able to defend decently enough in order to keep applying pressure to the Sounders defense, and keeping the play wide as they like to do. The Crew carried the lead into the locker room, hoping to keep the Sounders at bay for the second half.
A very scary look came upon Columbus when head coach Caleb Porter replaced Milton Valenzuela after he picked up a knock in the first half. The left back missed the entire 2019 season with an ACL injury, so seeing him get replaced at the half is worrisome to Crew supporters.
“I think he was holding the same leg,” said captain Jonathan Mensah. “I wasn’t quite happy with that. He assured the whole team that it was nothing serious. He played a whole half and came inside under precautionary measures.”
Porter went on to echo the same statement as his clubs captain. “I think he’ll be okay.”
Seattle thought they had the equalizer in the 53rd minute from Miguel Ibarra, but Video Assistant Review canceled out the goal for Ibarra being offside prior.
The Rave Green soldiers attempted to claw their way back into the match, grabbing corner after corner and having forwards Jordan Morris and Raul Ruidiaz take open shots. After the VAR rescue, Columbus held strong. Seattle was able to handle a number of chances but Columbus was in sheer control of the game after the disallowed goal. Lucas Zelarayan came close multiple times to doubling the lead for the visitors, but couldn’t find the back of the net.
Mayhem commenced late in the second half as Harrison Afful was whistled for handling the ball the penalty box in the 79th minute. Room came up big to make the initial save, however, Seattle was given a lifeline by VAR when the replay showed Room was off his line prior to the shot. Raul Ruidiaz stepped up again to take the penalty and leveled the match in the 80th minute. Head Coach for Seattle Brian Schmetzer said “The referees got it right. VAR got it right
Columbus only secured a point from their Cascadia counterparts after playing to a 1-1 draw.
“Normally I would feel good about a draw on the road against last years MLS Cup champion on their home pitch, but I think our standards have raised,” Head Coach Caleb Porter went on to say about the draw. “I think in some ways we’re grounded; A little bit. And that’s a good thing, that our standards have raised.”
When asked about what the biggest takeaway was from the game, Porter said “That we can play with anybody in the league when we play our game.”
Zardes bags his first
Gyasi Zardes wanted to capitalize on his performance from 2019 by bettering himself for this season. Although he didn’t score last week, the star forward got his first of the season in this away game.
VAR Strikes Again
If any MLS fan hates one thing, it’s Video Assistant Review. VAR was used twice in the game, canceling out a Miguel Ibarra goal and spotting Eloy Room stepping off of his line during a penalty kick. “I thought it was a good save,” said Room. “I saw the clip so I knew where he was shooting. I think the linesman saw I was off the line, but I don’t think you could see it from that side but it’s his decision and I couldn’t do anything about it.
Head Coach for Seattle Brian Schmetzer said “The referees got it right. VAR got it right. You can clearly see on the replay that he had stepped forward. He can go sideways, but you can’t step forward. Raul’s not going to miss two in a row. He’s just not.”
Next week, the Black & Gold are at home facing off against former teammate Justin Meram and Real Salt Lake. Kickoff is slated for 5 p.m. EST.