Certainly the best match in MLS this week will play out today at CenturyLink: Sounders FC, with the second-best record in the league, against Eastern leader Columbus.
Here's a quick look ahead:
COLUMBUS CREW (11-7-7; 40 PTS.)AT SOUNDERS FC (12-5-9; 45 PTS.)1 p.m., CenturyLink Field.TV: KONG 6/16. RADIO: 97.3 FM.HEAD TO HEAD: The Sounders lead 2-0-3, outscoring Columbus 8-3. Both previous matches in Seattle ended 1-1, as did the May 7 meeting this season at Crew Stadium. CLUB LEADERS: For Columbus – G 8, Andres Mendoza; A 4, Robbie Rogers; S 55, Eddie Gaven; SOG 23, Gaven; GAA 1.04,William Hesmer. For Seattle – G 6, Alvaro Fernandez and Fredy Montero; A 7, Mauro Rosales; S 71, Montero; SOG 28, Montero; GAA 1.04; Kasey Keller.NOTES: Columbus leads the Eastern Conference, while Seattle has the second-best record in MLS. The Sounders are 3-1-1 over their last five league games; the Crew is 4-1-0. Seattle is 6-2-4 at home, Columbus 3-6-3 on the road. … Seattle hasn’t allowed a goal in 250 minutes of league play. A shutout today would match the club record. … The Crew is 13th in MLS with an average of 1.16 goals per game, but third in the league with a 0.96 goals-against average. Six of Columbus’ 29 goals have come on penalty kicks (second in MLS). … Crew forward Emilio Renteria has scored in back-to-back games. … Sounders coach Sigi Schmid coached the Crew from 2006-08, leading them to the MLS Cup in 2008. Sounders Brad Evans and Pat Noonan were part of that championship team. … Columbus defender Julius James is out due to disciplinary suspension. For Seattle, Servando Carrasco, Eric Friberg, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Fredy Montero and Tyson Wahl are all one caution away from a one-game yell0w-card suspension. … The referee is Baldomero Toledo.QUOTABLE: “Mendoza has obviously gotten some goals for them. Renteria has gotten goals as well. Robbie Rogers is playing better over the last part of the season. … It took them a while, I think, to realize where people fit and their best positions. They have a moved a guy like Emmanuel Ekpo around a little bit.” – Schmid, on Columbus.NEXT: The Sounders will meet FC Dallas in a U.S. Open Cup semifinal match at 7 p.m. at Starfire Sports Stadium in Tukwila. The Sounders return to MLS play Sept. 10, meeting Real Salt Lake at CenturyLink.