CHARLESTON — Columbus Crew SC defeated the Seattle Sounders 1-0 on Saturday in the final match of the 2017 Carolina Challenge Cup behind a goal from Niko Hansen in the 82nd minute.
The Sounders started a nearly first-choice lineup, but were without Jordan Morris because of a slight ankle sprain. Gustav Svensson returned to the starting XI, making the start out of position at right back.
Crew SC had the better of play for much of the first half before the Sounders hit their stride around the 60-minute mark. Clint Dempsey, who started for the fourth time in five preseason matches, had Seattle’s best chance of the day when he half-volleyed a cross from a corner kick that was deftly parried away by goalkeeper Zack Steffen. Dempsey went 80 minutes before being replaced by rookie Henry Wingo.
Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei fared exceptionally well in his first preseason start after recovering from an ankle injury in January, making several clutch saves. Midfielder Osvaldo Alonso also went 60 productive minutes in what was also his first preseason start.
The Sounders travel back to Seattle on Sunday before taking on the Houston Dynamo on March 4 (5:30 p.m. PT | Matchcenter) in the 2017 MLS regular-season opener.