The Decisive Moment
Posted by: Matt Gaschk
As crucial to the Sounders FC's 1-0 victory over FC Dallas as the master stroke of Mauro Rosales was, Fredy Montero's set-up on the play proved to be a critical decision.
Fredy Montero is the Sounders FC’s all-time leading scorer with 28 career MLS goals.
On Saturday against FC Dallas, he showed why he is also the team’s top assist man over the last three years too.
In the match’s only goal, he deferred to Mauro Rosales, the team’s gem of a newcomer who has proven to be an incredible goal-scoring threat along with a play-maker from the right side.
Lamar Neagle passed to Montero from the left side and Dallas defender Ugo Ihemelu got his foot to it, but couldn’t control it and it rolled Montero into space in Seattle’s offensive half.
However, he wasn’t unblocked by the Dallas defense.
With Ihemelu working to recover from behind, Zach Loyd and Jair Benitez converged on Montero. Like any brash striker, Montero has taken that challenge head on in previous opportunities, but this time was different.
He heard Rosales screaming up the right side - literally.
“I heard him shout my name and I knew he would get to the space,” Montero said.
Players call for the ball all the time though. The difference here was that Montero and Rosales have increasingly grown into a lethal pair who have found ways to complement each other on the field even though they play so similarly in the way they find space and play with the ball at their feet.
It wasn’t just as simple as touching the ball off though.
“What he did really well was drive at the outside defender (Benitez) and make the outside defender commit in to him,” Schmid explained. “Once he did that, he laid a good ball to Mauro and hit him in stride with it. It was a good play. It was unselfish. It was the right run and it was a good lay-off.”
Montero wasn’t just willing to share the spotlight. He clamored for the opportunity.
The invitation to center stage was not lost on Rosales either.
And he was just the man for the moment too, catching FC Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman leaning to his right, allowing Rosales to finish inside the near post.
“I think it was very important for me that Fredy gave me that ball,” Rosales said. “His pass was more important than my goal.”
The goal and the set-up were the difference-makers offensively for Seattle as they earned their first victory in seven matches in the state of Texas. It also proved to be a crucial play in a high-intensity game that propelled the Sounders into second place in Major League Soccer.
“We came to their house and won the three points. That means a lot to us,” Montero said. “They are a really good team. It was a typical playoff game.”
With a US Open Cup semifinal clash on the slate for August 30 at Starfire and a potential playoff meeting also in the cards, the match could be a forecaster of things to come for two of the top teams in the league.