The Sounders FC-Columbus Crew series started as a rivalry and quickly morphed into something more like a circus.
The clubs will meet for the eighth time tonight, and judging from the first seven, just about anything could play out at CenturyLink Field.
One thing that hasn’t happened is a Seattle loss. The Sounders are 4-0-3 against the Crew, including a win in the 2010 U.S. Open Cup final.
However, Seattle forward Fredy Montero cautioned that success against the Crew is just an interesting piece of history that will do them no good tonight.
“That’s very important – before the game,” he said. “We need to be focused on what we can do: Score goals and win the game.”
And coach Sigi Schmid tossed additional cold water on any embers of overconfidence.
“It was pointed out to me that we’re only 1-0-2 against them at home,” he said.
That is only one oddity in a series that has been stacked with them.
• Sounders FC has three hat tricks in its history, and two came against Columbus – one by Blaise Nkufo in 2010, the other by Lamar Neagle in 2011.
• The Sounders’ largest margin of victory is four goals. They have done it twice – both times against the Crew.
• One of those four-goal victories came last season in Seattle: a 6-2 result in which the home team scored a club record four first-half goals.
• Seattle has scored in all six MLS games against the Crew, and a total of 14 goals overall.
• Ten of those 14 goals have been scored in the first halves.
All of this has played out against the club that Schmid coached before coming to Seattle.
“I think the players have gone out a little bit and rewarded me at times with good performances against them,” Schmid said. “Early on, you wanted to do well against your own team; just like they do as ex-players, I do as well as the ex-coach there.
“ Over the years, always, that becomes less and less.”
OPEN CUP PAIRING
Sounders FC will begin its quest for an unprecedented fourth consecutive U.S. Open Cup trophy at home next week against the Atlanta Silverbacks of the second-division North American Soccer League.
The Silverbacks advanced Tuesday with a 1-0 win over the fourth-division Georgia Revolution.
The winning goal came in the 61st minute, and was scored by Raphael Cox, a Tacoma native who played at Stadium High School, Highline Community College, the University of Washington, and the USL Tacoma Tide. His brother, Jamael Cox, plays on Pierce County-based Sounders U-23.
Atlanta held the right to host the match. However, the clubs announced late Tuesday that the game will be played at 7 p.m. May 30 at Starfire Sports Stadium in Tukwila.
COLUMBUS CREW (3-4-3; 12 POINTS) AT SOUNDERS FC (7-2-2; 23)
7 p.m., CenturyLink Field
TV: Ch. 6/16. RADIO: 97.3-FM.
CLUB LEADERS: For Columbus – G 2, Justin Meram and Eddie Gaven; A 2, Nemanja Vukovic; S 20, Milovan Mirosevic; SOG 7, Mirosevic and Olman Vargas; GAA 1.20, Andy Gruenebaum. For Seattle – G 4, Fredy Montero and David Estrada; A 2, four players; S 52, Montero; SOG 20, Montero; GAA 0.67, Bryan Meredith.
HEAD TO HEAD: Sounders FC leads 3-0-3 in league play, and 1-0-2 in Seattle. The Sounders also beat the Crew in the 2010 U.S. Open Cup final. This is the only scheduled meeting this season.
NOTES: Sounders coach Sigi Schmid coached Columbus 2006-08 and led them to the 2008 MLS Cup championship. Sounders midfielder Brad Evans also played on that team. ... Seattle leads MLS in average goals allowed (0.55). The Crew is 16th in average goals scored (0.90). ... Seattle is 5-2 at home; Columbus is 1-2-2 on the road. ... Both teams played to road draws Saturday: Seattle 2-2 at Vancouver, the Crew 1-1 at San Jose. ... Columbus will be without Aaron Schoenfeld (plantar fasciitis), Chad Marshall (concussion), Kirk Urso (adductor) and Ethan Finlay (concussion). For Seattle, Evans (calf) is expected to return, Leo Gonzalez (quad) might play, and Patrick Ianni (back) and Michael Gspurning (hip) remain out. ... The referee is Geoff Gamble.
QUOTABLE: “Justin Meram’s doing well, scoring some goals for them. Obviously Mirosevic is a good player. ... Dilly Duka is about ready to come back. He’s a dangerous player. And Eddie Gaven is always a guy you’ve got to know where he is because he can pop up in some dangerous places on you.” – Schmid on the Crew.
NEXT: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, at Chivas USA, Home Depot Center; Carson, Calif.firstname.lastname@example.org 253-597-8808 blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer @donruiztnt email@example.com