Columbus, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - Seattle Sounders FC will aim for its fourth consecutive win on Saturday when the club travels to Mapfre Stadium to battle Columbus Crew SC.
Seattle enters the clash riding a nice wave of positivity after rolling to a 3-1 victory over expansion side New York City FC at Yankee Stadium last Sunday.
Obafemi Martins finished with a pair of goals and an assist, while U.S. national team captain Clint Dempsey added a goal and a helper for the Sounders.
The visitors struck first in the 23rd minute when Pappa played an inch-perfect through ball in behind the NYC defense to Martins, who calmly fired it past NYCFC goalkeeper Josh Saunders for his milestone tally.
NYC pulled itself level in the 54th minute when Patrick Mullins sent a quick pass across the top of the box to Ballouchy, who fired it into the roof of the net, sending the home fans into euphoria.
But all the positive vibes went out of the building just four minutes later when Dempsey took a pass from Pappa, cut to his right and slid it past Saunders low to the far post.
Martins collected his second goal of the night in the 66th minute to widen the lead further. New York City responded with plenty of pressure and scoring opportunities in the attacking third in the final 10 minutes, but Seattle held on to claim all three points.
"I think we're getting better and better. Stefan Frei has been great in goal for us," said Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid. "He's been really, really solid. I think [Brad] Evans is getting better and better at center back. I thought today was probably his best game at center back. And I think Dylan Remick has stepped up as a left back and is really jumping in as well. It's not just the returning guys that we expect to do well, but it���s also been the young guys that are coming through."
"Nothing surprises me with [Martins and Dempsey]. I see them at practice all the time, and they're able to conjure up magical stuff. The understanding between Dempsey and Oba has always been good, but the understanding between Oba and the rest of the team is getting better all the time."
Columbus, meanwhile, will be aiming to get back to winning ways after suffering a 2-0 defeat against D.C. United last time out.
The home side opened the scoring after 15 minutes when United set sail down the field on the break following a Columbus corner kick. Chris Rolfe did well to hold the ball just long enough before feeding it through to Fabian Espindola, who slid it past Columbus goalkeeper Steve Clark.
United doubled its advantage four minutes before the break when Espindola served a tantalizing ball into the box on a corner kick. Clark came out to claim the ball but collided with Kei Kamara, leaving Franklin free for the easy tap-in.
"It's about those small moments and in those small moments we didn't execute," said Columbus head coach Gregg Berhalter. "They had the corner kick they scored on and our corner kick they scored on. It's a good lesson. D.C. is a very good team but I feel that we have to be sharper in those small moments."