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Sounders-Crew Preview

AP - Sports

Seattle Sounders coach Sigi Schmid has yet to lose when he has returned to face the Columbus Crew, but he is channeling a famous name from his first coaching stop this weekend.

The Sounders look to avoid an emotional letdown Saturday night when they visit a Crew team that will be without suspended joint top scorer Federico Higuain.

Seattle (11-8-4) beat Portland 1-0 at home Sunday in front of 67,385 fans - the second-largest, stand-alone crowd in MLS history.

Schmid, who coached Columbus between 2006-08, began as an assistant at UCLA in the late 1970s around the time Hall of Fame basketball coach John Wooden ended his legendary career. The Sounders coach brought up wisdom from the 'Wizard of Westwood' ahead of this trip.

"Sometimes one of the things I think a famous basketball coach, coach Wooden said when you have a really up game, sometimes you have a really down game that follows it," Schmid said. "So it's important for us to recover emotionally as well as physically 'cause those games, those derby games with Portland and Vancouver are emotional games as well."

Seattle went 3-0-3 against Columbus under Schmid before a 2-0 loss last season in the clubs' most recent meeting. Schmid guided the Crew to their lone MLS Cup title in 2008, and has two wins and a draw in three matches as a visitor to Crew Stadium.

"I always have a good feeling there," Schmid said. "Obviously I had three years there and it culminated with an MLS Cup and there's a lot of happy memories there."

Crew coach Robert Warzycha was Schmid's assistant during those years before he was promoted in 2009.

"If you coach against your friends, you have to win," Warzycha told the Crew's official website. "Obviously (Schmid) is a very good coach and he has a very good team, so it's going to be challenging for us."

Columbus (8-12-5) is without Higuain, tied with Dominic Oduro for the team lead with nine goals. Higuain was sent off in the 90th minute with a red card last Saturday in the Crew's worst loss of the season, 4-0 at Real Salt Lake.

Higuain is the only Columbus goal scorer in its last four matches with four. The Crew also have been credited with one own goal.

"We know that their top player Higuain is not going to be able to be involved in this particular game so we have to take advantage of that if we can," Schmid said.

Seattle newcomer Clint Dempsey is still searching for his first goal in his fourth game with the club. Dempsey hasn't been shy with 14 shots - the highest total for any MLS player over no more than a three-game span since the former English Premier League player made his Sounders debut Aug. 10.

This is Dempsey's last game before he misses Seattle's next two due to United States national team duty.

The Sounders are tied for fifth place in the Western Conference with 37 points. They have played at least two fewer games than every team above them.

Warzycha said midfielders Justin Meram (back) and Bernardo Anor (hamstring) are available this weekend after both sat out last Saturday.

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