We've said it before, there are no style points when it comes to winning on the road. It would be nice if there were added points for degree of difficulty, though. The Seattle Sounders won a road game for the second time in three games, this time doing so while playing 85 minutes a man down and then losing their best two-way player 19 minutes in.
The statistics are about what you'd expect in this situation, as the Crew out shot the Sounders 24-7 and won the possession battle 56-44.
Getting the points surely required a bit of luck too, as Chad Marshall hit the cross bar with a header and Dominic Oduro missed an open net on a breakaway. Aside from those, though, the Sounders actually did a pretty good job of limiting the Crew's chances. While the shot numbers were obviously high, but 10 of them were from outside the penalty area and Michael Gspurning only had to make three saves.
No matter how they did it, though, the win puts the Sounders in very good position heading into the busiest part of their schedule. Heading into three straight home games, the Sounders have the third best points per game mark in the league and could very well find themselves in the points lead by the end of the home stand.
SEA - Eddie Johnson (Mauro Rosales) 15'
Seattle Sounders FC - Michael Gspurning, DeAndre Yedlin, Zach Scott, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez, Mauro Rosales (Marc Burch 74), Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans (Servando Carrasco 19), Lamar Neagle, Clint Dempsey, Eddie Johnson (Djimi Traore 61).
Substitutes Not Used: Marcus Hahnemann, Patrick Ianni, David Estrada, Eriq Zavaleta.
TOTAL SHOTS: 7 (Dempsey 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 2 (Johnson, Neagle 1); FOULS: 11 (Alonso 3); OFFSIDE: 3 (3 players, 1); CORNER KICKS: 3 (Rosales 2); SAVES: 3 (Gspurning 3).
Columbus Crew - Matt Lampson, Danny O'Rourke, Josh Williams, Chad Marshall, Agustin Viana (Konrad Warzycha 61), Jairo Arrieta, Will Trapp, Bernardo Anor, Justin Meram (Ethan Finlay 73), Dominic Oduro, Ryan Finley.
Substitutes Not Used: Daniel Withrow, Tyson Wahl, Tony Tchani, Chad Barson, Kevan George.
TOTAL SHOTS: 24 (Arrieta, Marshall 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (Oduro 2); FOULS: 12 (Viana 3, O'Rourke 3); OFFSIDE: 2 (Arrieta, Finley 1); CORNER KICKS: 9 (Trapp 7); SAVES: 1 (Lampson 1).
SEA - Leo Gonzalez (ejection) 7'
CLB - Danny O'Rourke (caution) 21'
CLB - Agustin Viana (caution) 36'
SEA - Djimi Traore (caution) 76'
Referee: Ismail Elfath
Referee's Assistants: Chris Strickland, Brian Dunn
4th Official: Hilario Grajeda
Time of Game: 1:53
Weather: Cloudy and 82 degrees
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial
Postgame Notes - Sounders FC 1 at Columbus Crew 0
*Sounders FC is 5-1-1 over the past seven games and are second in the Western Conference with 1.67 points per match.
*Eddie Johnson's seven goals are tied with Obafemi Martins for the team-lead. He has now scored in consecutive games and recorded a point in each of his last four starts. With 62 career MLS goals, he is now in sole possession of 22nd place on the all-time list.
*Mauro Rosales leads the team with seven assists, including five game-winners. His 33 career assists are second in club history, one shy of Fredy Montero's record of 34. Rosales has one goal and four assists in his last six games, and Seattle is 24-2-7 when Rosales scores (11) or assists (33).
*Tonight marked the second straight game Seattle has scored via the Rosales-Johnson connection. The pair have linked up three times this year and nine times total.
*Sounders FC is 3-6-6 when playing down a man and 5-8-9 overall in any games they receive a red card.
*Johnson's goal marked the fifth time Seattle has scored when down a man, going 2-2-1 in those games. Johnson scored last season at Montreal (6/16) while Seattle was a man down.
*With the start tonight, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado moved into fourth place in club history with 94 starts, passing Kasey Keller. Hurtado is also fourth with 98 starts and 8,357 minutes.
*Sounders FC finished the month of August 4-1-0 this season, giving them a 13-5-4 all-time August record.
*Seattle is 3-1-3 all time against Columbus, the lone loss coming last season (5/23) at CenturyLink Field.
*Michael Gspurning made three saves and earned his eighth clean sheet of the season. The Austrian has now recorded consecutive shutouts for the third time this season.
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC HEAD COACH SIGI SCHMID
On winning with 10 men:
We're happy with the three points. Obviously, it wasn't the way we drew it up. I think technically it's maybe a red card on Leo [Gonzalez], but I thought [Ryan] Finley was barely touched. He just fell over. We had one where somebody got barely touched, too. If they would have fallen over I wouldn't have claimed a red card there. We had to deal with that adversity and I thought our team showed a lot of character.
On weather delay:
I thought the team was good. We stayed pretty loose inside the locker room. We had a little game of cricket going with [Eric] Zavaleta pitching and Dempsey trying to hit, so they were occupied there. Having to get re-warmed up, I don't know if that contributed to Brad [Evans]'s injury or not, but obviously it's always a little difficult when you're dealing with a rain delay.
On Eddie Johnson's goal:
It was great. Good service from Mauro [Rosales]and Eddie [Johnson] is so good in the air. He's starting to get some headers for us. He got a lot of head ball goals last year, and he's got two now in the last couple of games for us, so he's definitely a weapon in the air, that's one of the things he presents and helps us with us and the National Team. He's just got to keep it going, it's great.
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC FORWARD EDDIE JOHNSON
On the game overall:
Any time you go on the road, coming off of an emotional win at home against a rival, you don't want to dwell on the previous game and [Head Coach Sigi Schmid] talked about that as far as coming out with a good mentality and putting that game aside and knowing that it's going to be difficult here to play against Columbus because they need points as well as we need points. We knew it was going to be difficult. We had some challenges before the game with the rain delay and coming back in and after you get a good warm-up it's hard to get that going again. [Schmid] said we don't want to use excuses, and just for the game itself we talked about our team goals. One of our team goals was defending from top to bottom and getting something on the road. I feel like if we can defend well for 90 minutes plus we know that one goal can get us a victory on the road. We showed a lot of character. Hats off to my teammates, I though the back four, I thought Ozzie [Alonso], I thought Gspurning came up and made some good saves and I think it was a great collective team win tonight. I'm proud of my guys.
On his goal:
We're a good team on set pieces. I think one of my strengths is being dangerous in the box. Mauro Rosales and I have a good relationship. We showed last year the relationship that we had and it's starting to click again this year. I think four of the seven goals I've scored I think he's assisted and I think they've all been headers. We just want to as a team enjoy this win. It wasn't the prettiest soccer, but we knew they were going to have chances. Any team at this level is going to have chances up a man especially at their home in front of a good crowd. The fans here are great and they're behind them, but we got something out of the game and at the end of the day goals change games and I'm delighted to score tonight and for our team to have the three points tonight.
On responding to the red card and Brad Evans's injury:
To be honest, we were a bit frustrated just with the whole build-up to the game, with the rain delay, having a good warm-up and then being hyped and excited about going out and playing and then waiting for an hour in the locker room and then getting back out there and warming up again. It's difficult. For Brad Evans, who's played a lot of minutes, it showed with coming back in the locker room and waiting an hour to get back on the field. Hopefully he's okay for the National Team game, but for myself as a guy who's been playing a lot of minutes and who has been playing for the National Team I started to feel tired as well and I think it was smart of [Schmid] in bringing me out so I don't have the same risk that Brad [Evans] had. At the end of the day, for right now - the second part of the season - it's about getting better as a team whether it's from a tactical standpoint or a mental standpoint. I think we showed a lot of character and I think this team two months ago we lose this game, but we showed that when our backs are against the wall we're going to grind and try to get something out of the game. It wasn't the prettiest game, hats off to Columbus they really brought it to us and made it difficult for us and they were a bit unfortunate but we scored a goal that changed the game and we're happy with the three points.
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC FORWARD CLINT DEMPSEY
On the delay and his back tightening up:
Yeah, it tightened up on me in the first half. I think it's from the delay. We go through our warm-up, come back inside, we wait around for 30 minutes, try to go back and warm-up again, that kind of stuff. I felt it. I think maybe that's what contributed to Brad [Evans] having to go out as well, but it didn't help that the red card made the game pretty boring, made it a difficult game. We just really had to stay compact defensively and maybe try to catch them on the counter, but we showed a lot of character and got the right result.
On going to play with the National Team:
We'll leave tomorrow. We've got two games, Costa Rica away and Mexico here in Columbus at home. It's important for us in these next four games to go get at least one win. If we do that, we'll be sitting in a good position so hopefully we can get that done.
On his 100th cap:
It's just cool to say that you've played 100 games for the National Team and I think it will be good just to get it out of the way and just have it under your belt and it's one thing that you can be proud of when you're old but the most important thing is not the 100th cap, it's about the team trying to get the right result in these next three games.
COLUMBUS CREW HEAD COACH ROBERT WARZYCHA
On the challenges the club faced tonight:
You have to be patient and move the ball. You have to use soccer knowledge and then you can score goals. Sometimes it is tough to play games like this. If you are playing a man up you think that you don't have to work so hard because everything is going to be given. We know Eddie Johnson is good player and we have seen goals that he has scored like this. I think we failed to deliver.
On team effort level:
We were not playing smart. If everyone wanted to score a goal that would usually happen. Playing a man up, everyone wants to take a chance and score a goal and they miss a guy who probably is in a better spot. We had some chances where we could have scored. The one on the crossbar. Dominic [Oduro] had a chance. Those are chances where we need to score. Simple as that.
On game plan heading in:
I think we started the right way. We started with two fouls and worked really hard - that is where they got the send-off. We tried to change a couple of things - playing with three forwards, putting another midfielder in, playing with three in the back, but they defended well.
On the early red card:
They had some success after the send-off because they knew they had to work harder, run more and they kept some possession actually. For the next five to 10 minutes they were able to stick some passes. They did a good job of absorbing the pressure.
On the loss:
This is probably the one that is going to hurt the most. Put it that way.
COLUMBUS CREW GOALKEEPER MATT LAMPSON
On the feelings after the game:
I think especially with playing a man up the entire game, really we had chances and that's the hardest thing to stomach, and when you can't put them away, we gave away three points at home. So in that aspect it is very hard to deal with but we have to come out, we have a quick turn-around, so another home game and that is what we have to think about now
On how he feels the red card changed the game:
I felt like there was a lot more space on the field for both teams, I think Seattle sat back a lot more, which gave us opportunities but we could not capitalize and unfortunately we could not get it all together to get one in the back of the net, but I thought we did well a man up, just not well enough.
On what he saw on the goal:
He scored one almost exactly the same last week, we scouted it he is very good in the air, he is a national team player, when you get a player of that caliber he is not going to miss, he is going to make you pay. It was a good ball in by Rosales, unfortunately Johnson lost his mark and he buried it, so not much you can do.
COLUMBUS CREW MIDFIELDER JUSTIN MERAM
We just had to do a little better finishing our chances. It is as simple as that.
On what changed in the game when Leonardo Gonzalez was issued a red card in the seventh minute:
They [Seattle Sounders] packed it in. You are pushing for the goal right away, especially when they score, so the whole dynamic of the game changes. You are pushing forward the whole game instead of keeping it and moving it side to side. It is not as easy as some people think.
On trying to get the goal after going up a man:
Yeah. Everyone is trying to help out. Sometimes there is a smarter pass than the shot. I think in a couple of chances if we had made a smarter pass, we could have been successful, but guys are tying their hardest out there.