There is a different air about the Sounders FC of late.
It looked like the tides had turned just before the World Cup break when Seattle managed a 3-0 win over the New England Revolution and nearly battled back from a 3-0 deficit while outplaying DC United through most of the match. However, upon returning from the break they suffered consecutive 3-1 road losses to the Philadelphia Union and the LA Galaxy.
In their last two league matches, though, they’ve turned a bit of a corner, with inspired play resulting in a draw after allowing a late goal against FC Dallas while playing down a man for 30 minutes and a 1-0 win on the road against DC United.
Over that six-game stretch dating back to June 5, there has been one constant – Fredy Montero is putting points on the board. Montero has three goals and four assists, with at least one point in each of the last six league matches for the Sounders FC.
Against DC United, it was his cross in the 89th minute that set up Roger Levesque’s first goal of the season putting the Sounders on the winning side of the ledger for the first time since their June 5 win over New England, though they have mixed in two US Open Cup victories and a friendly win over Boca Juniors.
“You can just see that the attitude of this team is changing. We’re getting back to that hard-working, fighting for one another that we built a foundation on last year,” Sounders FC goalkeeper and captain Kasey Keller said after the DC United win. “I feel the team spirit is returning tremendously and I’m just proud of the effort we put out tonight and it’s the reason we won the game.”
He’s not the only player who has added some urgency to his game of late, but his efforts embody the changing mentality of the team. His all-out hustle not only set up the game-winning score, but also put continuous pressure on the DC defense.
“Fredy was the guy who held the ball up for us. He dropped off the front line a little bit and let Roger stay high. He was able to slip different people in,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. “He had a couple of opportunities where he had some shots that I’m sure he’d like to have back – one that maybe he could have shot a little bit earlier. His work rate the last two games has just been very, very good.”
This isn’t the first time Montero has seen a hot streak when the weather is heating up in June and July. Last season, in a stretch of five matches from June 13-July 11, Montero notched five goals and three assists.
And with Blaise Nkufo joining the team and Nate Jaqua returning from injury, his strike force up front is gaining potency by the day.
Next up for Montero and the Sounders FC is a home match against the Colorado Rapids on Sunday at Qwest Field as Seattle looks to improve on their 5-8-4 record.