Seattle, WA – Two of Major League Soccer's best teams in the 2011 season will meet on Saturday as Seattle Sounders FC will host the Columbus Crew at CenturyLink Field.
Columbus leads the Eastern Conference with 40 points from 25 games, while Seattle sits in second place in the West with 45 points from 26 games.
Both teams are a virtual lock to make the postseason, so the remaining league fixtures will serve to determine final seeding and build confidence ahead of the playoffs.
After Seattle earned a 1-0 road win over FC Dallas in its most recent outing, Sounders goalkeeper Kasey Keller underlined the implications the coming months will have for his club.
"It's nice that we can jump ahead of Dallas, but we know there is a lot left to play in the season," Keller said. "It's more of a confidence thing where you know you can go in and win on the road against a team that is in good form."
The Crew, meanwhile, have won eight of their last 13 games to lead the Eastern Conference by four points, its biggest margin of the season.
Columbus is coming off of a massive 2-1 win over its conference rival, the Philadelphia Union, to strengthen its position atop the East.
"[It] was one of the more important games this season for us" said Crew midfielder Robbie Rogers. "We battled for the top of the East and we were at home so we needed to win all of our home games. To play against the second- place team in the East, I think it's very special we got this win and we battled all night."
Rogers has been a key player in the Crew's successful run of form. The midfielder has recorded four assists in his last four matches, totaling five for the 2011 season.
Columbus also boasts one of the stingiest defenses in the league, conceding just 24 goals in its 25 regular season games. It will need to be in top form to stop a Seattle offense that can find goals from just about anywhere on the field.
Alvaro Fernandez and Fredy Montero lead the Sounders with six goals apiece, followed by Brad Evans and Mauro Rosales with four and Osvaldo Alonso and Roger Levesque with three.