Kei Kamara and Clint Dempsey traded two goals each in a match with plenty of chances for both sides, but Federico Higuain's strike just after halftime made the difference in the end for Columbus at home. The Sounders had moments of dominance and pressure, but a few too many buildups petered out as the Crew clogged up the space when Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey so often do their magic. It took a brilliant shot from Clint and a messy goal involving both players to keep Seattle close in this match, and they were lucky to not to concede a couple more from a few of the shots where Stefan Frei made strong saves on the other end.
In the opening minutes, the Sounders appeared to allow their opponents to take some space on the wings and send in crosses. But Kamara burst past a diving Chad Marshall for the opening goal from one of those balls. The Sounders took the first 20 minutes to find the game, offering several more chances up to the dominant Crew. But Dempsey returned fire with a brilliant move off a Pineda pass to set up a quick curled shot, finding the inside of the left post and then the net.
Throughout the first half, Seattle unlocked the Crew's midfield a bit more, finding attacking space as Tyrone Mears pushed up the line and sent in crosses. After the break, Higuain struck quickly to take back the lead. He sliced his way across the top of the box and slotted home through traffic, leaving the defense looking flat-footed.
Seattle was on their heels, and Kamara punished them again a short time later, receiving a cross on the ground and placing it past Frei's reach. Sigi Schmid sent in Lamar Neagle and Chad Barrett to help pull back a goal or two. Seattle began to pressure after the subs, and Oba and Clint combined to bundle in another goal after bouncing the ball off of Steve Clark.
It looked within Seattle's reach to find the tying goal in the final minutes. The game got stretched with dangerous looks for both sides, and Frei did his part to keep his team close, but Kamara and Crew held on for a victory at home.
Columbus Crew SC fans may just get the rivalry they wanted, after a contentious and chippy game. For the first time this year, Seattle's defense looked truly overwhelmed during stretches of this match. This wasn't helped by Osvaldo Alonso having an off night, sending a few wayward balls to the feet of opponents in dangerous spots.