Sunday, March 30, 2014

Red+PK Undo Seattle, Crew Wins

This match was flipped upside down in the 58th minute when frenzied play in Seattle's 18 yard box lead to a Djimi Traore red card dismissal and penalty conversion for the Crew.

1ST HALF (0-1)
Seattle came out looking much more dangerous than the Crew. The turf was wet, slick and fast and it lead to a lot of breaks for the Sounders. One of which Kenny Cooper ripped across Crew 'keeper Steve Clark for a goal.

The Crew, however, continued to stick to their possession based game even though they didn't get a whole lot of chances (only one shot on target) in the first half. By the time 45 minutes rolled around, Seattle looked to be in the driver's seat.

2ND HALF (2-0)
The Sounders came out strong and even wrestled possession away from the Crew in the early going. Columbus looked out of shape, with a few players misjudging ball bounces and pass distances.

This all changed when a ball bounced into Seattle's box in near the 60th minute and Traore found himself behind Dominic Oduro in the box. Oduro stopped to try and trap the ball and Traore tried to kick around the side of him, bumping him and sending him to the turf. The referee called the foul in the box and issued a red card. Federico Higuain stepped up and evened the score.

From there the Crew showed why knowing how to possess the ball is valuable, especially a man up and on the road. They did just that and forced Seattle to have to be very choosy about when and how to attack.

In the end it lead to a lot of tired legs and a somewhat frantic / bizarre ending where the Crew caught everybody by surprise (including the ref?) by taking a fast corner kick. Federico Higuain found a wide open Justin Meram a top the box and he quickly looped a great shot into the upper corner for the game winner.

Ref ended the match right upon the kickoff that followed.

• CenturyLink matches play different (fast, bouncy turf) and feel different (huge NFL stadium half filled with soccer fans). The combination of those two things often lead to wild and frantic moments at the end of matches. Last night was the same.

• Crew win third straight. Last time they did it wasn't that long ago, interestingly. It was shortly after Brian Bliss took over the team last year.

• Another huge passing day for the Crew, helped by the red card this time.

• Seattle should feel hard done. Don't feel the red card was necessary and felt the ref let the game go too long. Issuing a red and a penalty dooms your team to failure, the punishment last night far outweighed the crime.

• Crew face Toronto next weekend.

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