Columbus’ Kei Kamara matched Dempsey with a pair of goals, including what proved to be the winner in the 58th minute. The goals were the sixth and seventh of the season for each player, putting them tied atop the MLS Golden Boot race.
The game was fast-paced with end-to-end attacking most of the way.
However, the Crew came out of the chute that way, and jumped ahead in the 10th minute when Kamara darted in front of central defender Chad Marshall and headed in the first goal.
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Seattle equalized in the 24th minute as Dempsey sent in a curling shot after finding space at the top of the penalty arc.
Federico Higuain put Columbus (4-3-2) back ahead early in the second half, and then Kamara made it 3-1 in the 58th minute.
Dempsey cut the lead back to one in the 75th minute, on a disputed goal when he appeared to be offside before sending a rebounded shot into the net.
The flag was not raised, however the Sounders (5-3-1) couldn’t find a second equalizer, and suffered their first loss since April 12.
It was Seattle’s first loss in five visits to Columbus’ home field, which this season has been renamed MAPFRE Stadium. The Crew has been dangerous there, scoring 10 goals over their past three home games.
The Sounders will conclude their run of three straight road games Saturday at Vancouver.
Final: Columbus 3, Sounders 2. Sounders' third loss of season, and second by that score. Drop to 5-3-1 with visit to Vancouver next.
In fifth visit, Sounders finally lose at Columbus. Now 3-1-1.
Schmid wanted possession, and he got it 57%-43. But Crew outshot Sounders 24-11 and put 13 on goal.
75' GOAL Sounders. Dempsey again. His seventh, passing Oba for team lead and catching Kamara for MLS lead. Crew, 3-2.
70' Barrett in, Rose out.
62' Neagle in, Pappa out.
58' GOAL Columbus. Kamara again, moving into the MLS lead with his seventh goal. Columbus, 3-1.
50' GOAL Columbus. Brilliant dribble by Higuain circling across top of box before he found his opening and fired. Crew, 2-1. First time Sounders have allowed two goals in a game since mid-March.
Second half: ... has begun. Sounders haven’t allowed two goals in a game since that gruesome 3-2 loss to San Jose on March 14.
HT: Columbus 1, Sounders 1, as Kamara and Dempsey each score Golden Boot lead tying sixth goal of season.
Shots 14-6 Crew; on target 6-3 Crew; possession 54% SEA.
24' GOAL Sounders. Dempsey from about 25 yards off post. Sounders 1, Crew 1. Dempsey's sixth goal, matching Oba and Kamara.
Dempsey has goal or assist in nine consecutive MLS games, tying for the sixth longest streak ever.
Sounders 14 goals on the season: Six Dempsey, six Oba, two Neagle, who is on the bench.
First 20: Sounders have had a chance or two, but Columbus attack has been relentless.
10' GOAL Crew. Kamara beats Marshall to header. Columbus had been dangerous. Up 1-0.
First kick: ... has been struck. Sounders in white/white; Crew in black/black.
Lineups: Sounders: Frei; Mears, Evans, Marshall, Remick; Rose Alonso, Pineda, Pappa; Dempsey, Martins. Bench: Perkins, Scott, Gonzalez, Azira, Roldan, Neagle, Barrett.
For Crew: Clark; Francis, Pogatetz, Parkhurst, Jimenez; Meram, Tchani, Higuain, Saied, Finlay; Kamara.
Pregame: A reminder that the Sounders' first kick today is scheduled for 4:30 PT from Columbus. The game will be shown on Channel 13, heard on the usual radio outlets, blogged here, and we'll have updates and comments on Twitter @donruiztnt.
Here's our preview story.
We'll be back with lineups, probably in 3:30-4 range. All indications are that coach Sigi Schmid has his whole roster available.