Montero’s goals boost Sounders past Fire 2-1
Aug 28, 2010, 11:32 PM | Updated: Apr 5, 2011, 9:50 am
(AP photo/Seattlepi.com, Joshua Trujillo)
SEATTLE (AP) – Fredy Montero scored two goals, including a header during second-half stoppage time that gave the Seattle Sounders a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Fire on Saturday night.
Montero, who has 10 goals this season, pulled the Sounders (9-8-5, 32 points) even at 1 in the 36th minute. It was the 10th time in 11 games that Montero has tallied either a goal or an assist for Seattle, which ran its unbeaten streak to seven games (4-0-3) since at 3-1 loss at Los Angeles on July 4.
John Thorrington gave the Fire (6-7-6, 24 points) the early lead in the 28th minute when he converted a penalty kick.
Nathan Sturgis set up Montero’s game winner with a perfectly placed target ball from the right sideline. Montero, playing inside the 6-yard box at the far post, nodded it past Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson into the back center of the net.
“It was a very big goal. We’ve been dreaming about this chance of getting a goal so late in the game,” Montero said. “It was an excellent ball from Sturgis _ all the credit to him. It gave us three points and put us closer to the playoffs.”
Sounders coach Sigi Schmid made sure Montero got some of that credit, too.
“I think he has played games that were as good,” Schmid said. “But certainly, I think his motivation tonight was good, and obviously, his finishing was good when he had the two chances.”
Seattle took over sole possession of fourth place in the Western Conference, one point ahead of Colorado. Chicago fell to fifth in the Eastern Conference. The Sounders climbed back above .500 for the first time since April 22.
“It’s all about us gathering points, and we’re now at a level where we have 32 points in 22 games,” Schmid said. “So we’re getting close to that average of 1 1/2-point average per game that we need (to make the playoffs).”
Thorrington put the Fire on top when he beat Sounders goalkeeper Kasey Keller on a spot kick into the back right corner. A hand ball call on Seattle defender Jeff Parke set up the PK.
Montero tied it for the Sounders 8 minutes later. Seattle defender Tyson Wahl saved the ball from going out on the left sideline, regained control and sent a cross into the box for Montero. With two Chicago defenders around him, Montero got around both and, from 12 yards away on the right side, beat goalkeeper Sean Johnson to the back left corner.
The game marked the return to Seattle of Swedish international and former English Premier League star Freddie Ljungberg since he was traded by the Sounders to the Fire on July 30.
Ljungberg played all 90 minutes at forward and was greeted initially with a mixture of cheers and boos, but then was booed for the rest of the game whenever he touched the ball.
“I was happy with the reception I got, because you never know,” said Ljungberg, who was one of the first players signed by the Sounders prior to their 2009 expansion season. “People on the street were wishing me well and wishing me good luck. There were no angry words of any kind.”
Fire coach Carlos de los Cabos was frustrated with another late-game loss. Last Saturday, Chicago dropped a 4-3 decision to Houston on a Dynamo goal in the 85th minute.
“I think our team played good. It was a shame, with what is happening with the last couple of matches, us losing in the final few minutes,” de los Cabos said. “Part of the time, it’s maturing of some players. The young players are learning.”
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