Despite a match that started nearly two hours late, an early red card and losing Brad Evans to injury early the heart of Seattle Sounders FC showed through in a one-nil road win. The Columbus Crew failed to significantly threaten as they could not beat a defense that had forward Lamar Neagle at left back and later a hobbled Zach Scott on the line. The Rave Green backline put on their Dikembe show and finished the evening with 11 blocked shots.
Eddie Johnson didn't care that the Sounders were down a man. He put his head on a perfect Mauro Rosales dead ball to score the match winner for the second straight night. One goal is all it would take for a team that lost Leo Gonzalez in a last man foul in the 7th minute.
Neagle slipped to left back and EJ played up top while Dempsey sat a bit deeper. From that point the club would have to weather a soccer storm after weathering the real storm that delayed the match. This was made more difficult when Brad Evans pulled up with an injury.
Seattle's chance creation disappeared. While they didn't bunker, the midfield and Dempsey were confined to trying crazy stuff in order to maintain possession or shoot.
From the 20th minute on this was game that showed that Seattle's defense is something to behold. Eleven blocks, actually reducing the passing effectiveness of the Crew (83% pass completion on the night, but only 81% after going up a man and the early sub).
Few matches are actually about heart. Tonight was about heart. Seattle defenders (one actually a forward) put their bodies in front of shots, picked themselves up after taking blows to the head and with Scott injuring himself but playing through.
Kind of like the nearly 100 of you that stuck through a rain delay on the road, or the many dozen that stuck through at the viewing party.
These three points move the club into 3rd by points in the West and 3rd by PPM in the league. They still have games in hand. Another shutout by Michael Gspurning and his defense puts Seattle in a place where their destiny is in their control.