The Sounders head to Ohio to take on the Columbus Crew without forwards Jordan Morris and Clint Dempsey. Who will step up in their absence?
The Sounders take on the Columbus Crew tomorrow at 4:30 pm in Columbus’ MAPFRE Stadium. Seattle is coming off a 1-0 win over their rivals to the south, the Portland Timbers, while Columbus is coming off a 5-0 drubbing in Montreal.
The Sounders will have to generate an offensive attack without two of their main weapons. Both Jordan Morris and Clint Dempsey answered the call for the United States Men’s Team for World Cup Qualifiers. Will Bruin and Henry Wingo will also be out for Seattle, leaving the Sounders without any obvious choices to play forward in Columbus.
The only healthy player listed as a forward for Brian Schmetzer is little-used Seyi Adekoya. Schmetzer will likely lean on midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro and a combination of Roman Torres and Aaron Kovar for attacking duties, depending on the health of Torres and Kovar.
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On paper, the Crew should have a formidable attack. In reality, they don’t. Ethan Finley has fallen off in a major way, and Frederico Higuain is suddenly showing his age.
The Sounders’ depth will be tested in this game and in a few more in June, with Morris and Dempsey away. They’ve been mostly successful against Columbus in the past, going 5-3-3 all-time against the Eastern Conference side, including a 1-0 win over the Crew at CenturyLink Field last season.
That game was won on a dramatic, 88th minute goal by Morris. He won’t be there to bail out the Sounders this time if the offense sputters. If the defense can close down chances from the middle of the field and keep the Columbus stars slumbering in scoring droughts, they’ll have a chance to at least come away with a point on the road.
Catch the game on FOX or Root Sports Northwest if you’re not in Seattle.