It's been the same old story for both the Seattle Sounders and Columbus Crew this year as it has been the past few years. Since their couple of Supporters Shield wins and MLS Cup in 2008, the Crew have been wading through mediocrity while the Sounders have seen decent success under former Crew coach Sigi Schmid, winning three US Open Cups and making some noise in the CONCACAF Champions League though they've won no actual league trophies.
It's been similar this year with the Sounders looking good for their 7-2-2 record, good for third in the tough Western Conference. The Crew are stuck at seventh in the weaker East, with a 3-2-3 record that indicates just how up and down the squad has been in 2012.
Both teams are coming off of exciting finishes over the weekend -- Seattle took a point from Vancouver when Fredy Montero scored a late equalizer to force a 2-2 game while the Crew had two points taken off their feet when the San Jose Earthquakes scored a late one to secure a 1-1 draw at home despite a monstrous performance by Andy Gruenebaum.
Gruenebaum will need to put on another performance like his strong match against San Jose -- the late goal they gave up wasn't his fault and he had been beastly before it, even stopping a penalty kick -- against the high octane Sounder offense led by Montero. More than that though, the Crew will need to solve the staunch Seattle defense that has kept their goal differential at a whopping nine, the second highest in the league. Tall order for a Crew offense that has struggled mightily at times this season.
The Crew have never beat the Sounders, though they've forced a fair number of draws through the years. They'll probably take another one at CenturyLink Field, points in front of the raucous Seattle crowd are always to be coveted. And after last year's 6-2 drubbing at the CLink, a draw looks even better for the Crew.
The game will be at CenturyLink Field at 10:00 p.m. ET.
For more on the Columbus Crew and Seattle Sounders head over to SB Nation's respective blogs for the two, Massive Report and Sounder At Heart. More on the world of soccer can be found over at SB Nation's dedicated soccer hub.