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Sounders v Columbus Crew, Carolina Challenge Cup, recap: Another preseason loss

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Niko Hansen scores only goal of game as Crew win 1-0.

Facing their final MLS opponent in preseason, Seattle Sounders FC lost again. Columbus Crew SC draftee Niko Hansen scored the only goal of the match, helping his side to the 1-nil win. Seattle is now 0-2-3 -3 on the preseason. They play a college side on Sunday.

The goal came in the 82nd minute as the Crew finally decided to test Stefan Frei to his right. A sloppy giveaway in midfield found its way to Hansen for a one-on-one with Frei, who started and otherwise dominated his goal.

Harrison Shipp nearly scored a tying goal with a deft move and left-footed chip from the top left of the 18. The ball drifted just wide.

Shipp entered for Alonso and played in the band of two. His tackling in that space is generally adequate. This should help him see more playing time as he can come on for Cristian Roldan or Osvaldo Alonso if necessary.

Starting a nearly Ideal XI, the Seattle Sounders generated few chances in the first half. The best of those came from a Roman Torres cross into Will Bruin, whose header went just wide. Most of the attacking action came in long switches to spring Joevin Jones. Jones’ interaction with Alvaro Fernandez was not as sharp as it could be.

Seattle survived eight corners. Frei and Chad Marshall were responsible for controlling the Crew on those dead ball situations. Marshall marked Adam Jahn out of effectiveness, while Frei was very strong in goal, just as he was in MLS Cup.

Columbus was the better side in those first 45 minutes. Most of their attacks came through Federico Higuain and Justin Meram. They tried to emphasize the channels where Gustav Svensson, at right back, would be forced to defend. Harrison Afful would burst down the line, but the combination of Jones and Fernandez controlled him all but once.

In the final 45 minutes Svensson played better. His attacking ability was more than suitable, with a vision that looked to break down a well-positioned Columbus team. His own positioning also forced the Crew to change their attacking habits.

Only two subs were used in this final tuneup for a near regular MLS XI. Shipp entered for Alonso at the 62nd minute. Henry Wingo replaced Clint Dempsey in the 82nd.

Wingo showed great speed and helped shift the energy towards the Sounders, but it was too little too late. He fluffed a cross that could be quite dangerous in the future.

Like Clint, we’re ready for the regular season.