Kei Kamara scored two goals and the Columbus Crew held on to defeat the Sounders 3-2 Saturday night at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, snapping Seattle’s three-match winning streak. The Crew missed two prime scoring opportunities in the 55th and 57th minutes, botching a chance for a 5-1 lead, then conceded a late, controversial goal to Clint Dempsey.
The Sounders (5-3-1, 16 points) put enormous pressure on Columbus following Dempsey’s goal, his second of the match, but couldn’t equalize.
“It’s difficult going coast-to-coast twice,” said Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid, whose club defeated expansion New York FC 3-1 last week at Yankee Stadium. “We weren’t as sharp as we could have been. We’ve got to recover and get our legs about us and we’ll be okay. But give Columbus credit.”
Kamara took a cross from Waylon Francis in the 10th minute, outmaneuvered Seattle defender Chad Marshall, and knocked in a header from point-blank range for a 1-0 Columbus lead. Fourteen minutes later, Dempsey notched his sixth goal of the season on an assist from Marco Pappa when he hit a left-footed bender past Columbus goalie Steve Clark.
Attacking relentlessly, Columbus dominated much of the second half. Federico Higuain put the Crew ahead 2-1 in the 49th minute when he broke free and drilled a shot past five Seattle defenders from 20 yards.
After the Crew missed two easy scoring chances for what should have been a 4-1 lead, Kamara notched his seventh goal of the year for a 3-1 lead. But Dempsey, taking a rebound off an Obafemi Martins miss in front of the goal, scored in the 75th minute. Dempsey, with seven goals plus a goal or an assist in seven consecutive games, was clearly offside according to the replay, but the goal stood.
“A frustrating game,” said Seattle defender Brad Evans. “We just never figured it out tonight. Most of our errors were mental lapses. But no excuses.”
Columbus dominated the run of play and wound up taking 24 shots to Seattle’s 11. The Crew had a 13-6 advantage on shots on goal despite the fact the Sounders controlled possession for 57.6 percent of the match to Columbus’s 43.3.
“Both teams had chances. We played all right, but they just played a little better,” said Seattle defender Dylan Remick.
Saturday’s loss marks only the second time this season that the Sounders have conceded two or more goals.
The Sounders play their third consecutive road game Saturday, a Cascadia Cup clash with the Vancouver Whitecaps at B.C. Place. Seattle returns to CenturyLink Field May 23 to host Sporting Kansas City.