Jordan Morris scored in the 88th minute as the Sounders edged the Columbus Crew 1-0 in front of 39,473 on Saturday afternoon at CenturyLink Field. Some impressions from staff reporter Matt Pentz.
Jordan Morris scored in the 88th minute as the Sounders edged the Columbus Crew 1-0 in front of 39,473 on Saturday afternoon at CenturyLink Field.
These are my first impressions:
– Morris came to the rescue.
Seattle’s high-profile rookie scored in his third consecutive game, and this was by far his most important goal as a professional.
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The Sounders and Crew were headed to a baffling scoreless draw despite having combined for 28 shots even prior to Morris’ goal. Then substitute Oalex Anderson mishit a shot that was saved by Columbus ‘keeper Steve Clark, and Morris swept in to clean up the rebound.
Sounders coach Sigi Schmid had set the benchmark at six points out of this two-game homestand, and Morris saved the first three.
– That might not have been objectively “good” soccer, but it sure was entertaining.
Shout out to Columbus’ commitment to attack-minded, possession-based soccer and a chronic inability to play lock-down defense. Crew games tend to be freewheeling affairs as a result, and Saturday’s match was no exception.
Sounders midfielder Cristian Roldan fired a shot into the side netting, Aaron Kovar was denied at close range by Clark and Stefan Frei denied Crew playmaker Federico Higuain with a kick save – and that was just the opening 10 minutes.
Deploying Clint Dempsey as a midfielder usually means ceding a hole in the middle of the field, and Columbus exploited it to control possession, Wil Trapp sitting deep and painting passes from side to side. Seattle, meanwhile, sat back, looking to spring Morris on the break.
Play flowed quickly from end to end, with attackers taking on defenders one-on-one and back-heels getting dropped in the box. Finishing was sloppy, and some of the giveaways were, too. But there was no shortage of scoring opportunities.
– Dempsey had another quiet night.
There were a handful of pros for the Sounders: Morris continues to grow in confidence and threat, and Aaron Kovar displayed plenty of hustle in his surprising start on the wing.
But Dempsey, playing in a midfield role ostensibly designed to get him more touches of the ball, was silent for most of the afternoon. He was substituted out in the 78th minute, with the Sounders still searching for a breakthrough goal.
Seattle’s biggest name roared out of the gate this season with a signature performance in the CONCACAF Champions League against Club America, also scoring a vital goal against Montreal. Otherwise, though, Dempsey has struggled to impose himself on games.
Blame it on the departure of strike partner Obafemi Martins, or ever-fluctuating roles. But Seattle needs more out of its star attacker.