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May 6, 2011 at 8:18 AM

Sounders FC vs. Columbus Crew, preview and prediction

Columbus Crew Logo.jpg***NOTE: This post was written Wednesday evening, so some of these notes might be out of date by the time it publishes. Should that happen, be kind and help out in the comments section. Thanks.

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Sounders FC (3-3-3) vs. Columbus Crew (3-1-3)

Saturday, May 7, 4:30 p.m., Crew Stadium, Columbus, Ohio

TV/radio broadcast: KONG 6-16 TV, 97.3 KIRO-FM, 99.3-FM La Gran D

KEY COLUMBUS PLAYERS

D Chad Marshall — He’s just 26 year old and is already arguably one of the best defenders in league history. He was MLS Defender of the Year in 2008 and 2009, and has been a stalwart in the back for the best years in franchise history. Has a handful of caps with the U.S. national team. Physically imposing and has led a very stingy group.

M Eddie Gaven — One of the more underrated players in the league in my opinion. Hasn’t been ultra-productive though this season with just one goal and no assists, but does rank first on the team in shots (15) and shots on goal (8). Seems like he’s been in the league forever but he’s just 24.

GK Will Hesmer — Boasts a 0.71 goals-against-average and a 77-percent save percentage. Very reliable and let’s face it, a handful of opposing goalkeepers have come up huge against Seattle this season. Think he’ll be the next in line?

KEY MATCH-UPS

Emilio Renteria vs. Jeff Parke — My guess is the Sounders FC center back comes back into the lineup and will have a chance to earn his spot for good. Shutting down the big Crew forward — who has a team-high three goals — would be a good start. Renteria has been on a nice run of late.

Mike Fucito vs. Julius James — Remember I’m typing this from a couple days ago, but the Fucito absence Wednesday certainly raised a few eyebrows. I have to think he’ll play a big role in this one. James is one of four for Columbus that has played all 630 minutes this season. He’s been solid and will get the tough assignment.

Disappointment/fatigue vs. Motivation/depth — The game in D.C. was a letdown after what has been a solid run for Sounders FC. While some players will get rested and others will be tired, the squad will surely be motivated to right the ship. It will be interesting to see which reserves gets the call. I’m thinking Parke, Gonzalez, and Fucito, among others.

PREDICTION

I thought this would be the more difficult of the two games this week — you’re on short rest, the opponent is on regular rest, plus Columbus had been in better form than D.C. coming into the week. I thought it was a draw then and I think it’s a draw now.

Maybe some players will have heavy legs but that can’t be the excuse that hangs over the game like a cloud. Every team has multi-game weeks and Seattle needs to rise to the occasion.

Let Robert Warzycha be the coach this time that says the other team was “extremely motivated.”

Sounders FC 1, Columbus Crew 1

COL: Robbie Rogers (Eddie Gaven) 31′

SEA: Roger Levesque (Osvaldo Alonso) 65′

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What do you think? A point too much or too little?

COMMENTS

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