SEATTLE - The Sounders FC continues to barrel through all competition thrown in front of them. Sunday night, the Houston Dynamo did some barreling of their own, but Seattle held their ground and fought back to a 2-0 win in front of a sellout crowd of 36,111 at Qwest Field.
Fredy Montero scored one and assisted to Alvaro Fernandez on the other while Kasey Keller picked up his seventh shutout of the season and the Sounders improved to 4-0-1 in their last five MLS matches.
“Today was a good result, especially against Houston,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. “Last year and in the past when we’ve played teams that are more physical or robust are teams that have given us a hard time. We were able to match that and came out ahead at the end of the day, so I was very pleased.”
Montero has been the spark plug for the Sounders in their stellar stretch of play, scoring or assisting in each of their last nine matches. Sunday night was no different as Montero ignited the team with his eighth goal of the season in the 64th minute.
After a back-and-forth scrum of a first half that saw the Sounders outshoot the Dynamo 5-2, Seattle exploded for nine second half shots while opening the game up to their attack and allowing midfielder Osvaldo Alonso space to shoot from just outside the box.
But in the 64th minute, it was Keller who got the Sounders out on the run. Keller collected the ball and caught the Dynamo on the counter attack by sending a long punt into Houston’s end. The ball bounced high into the air and Montero shielded Eddie Robinson, who has four inches and 25 pounds on the young Sounders striker. Montero collected the ball with Robinson on his back, pivoted around the veteran defender and blasted a shot past Tally Hall for the 1-0 lead.
“The credit goes to Kasey Keller for the long pass. It’s really difficult to defend when you get control of the ball in the area,” Montero said. “This time I got the better of it and it turned out positive.”
Keller was credited with the assist on the play, marking the first time a Sounders goalkeeper showed up on the score sheet. Keller, however, was more impressed with Montero’s incredible run of play.
“Fredy is on fire. He’s working extremely hard. He is doing some great stuff,” Keller said. “What I like so much about his game right now is that he has got a ton of assists as well. He is really turning into a complete player and I’m proud of him.”
Montero would add an assist in the 88th when he slid the ball forward for Fernandez on the run on the left side of the circle. All alone on the left side, Fernandez drew Hall off his line and shot past him and into the net for his first MLS goal.
It was his second goal overall after scoring a header to draw Isidro Metapan in the preliminary round of the CONCACAF Champions League. It was also his first appearance at Qwest Field.
“He made a good run and then his composure showed because he mistouched it on his first touch, but he was able to recover and his composure on finish was very good,” Schmid said. “Being able to finish plays is something that allows you to win games and he’s done it twice for us now in the past two games.”
The Sounders improved to 8-8-4 (28 points) on the season, retaining fourth place in the Western Conference standings. They are unbeaten in their last eight matches overall. Houston, meanwhile, are winless in their last nine league matches and fell to 5-9-5 (20 points).
Seattle’s next match comes Saturday night at the Home Depot Center against last place Chivas USA.
Sounders FC - Fredy Montero (Kasey Keller) 64; Alvaro Fernandez (Montero, Nate Jaqua) 88.
Dynamo - None.
Sounders FC - Kasey Keller, James Riley, Patrick Ianni, Jeff Parke, Leo Gonzalez, Sanna Nyassi (Mike Seamon 85), Osvaldo Alonso, Nathan Sturgis, Steve Zakuani (Alvaro Fernandez 69), Fredy Montero, Blaise Nkufo (Nate Jaqua 87).
Dynamo - Tally Hall, Eddie Robinson, Bobby Boswell, Andrew Hainault, Mike Chabala, Corey Ashe (Brian Mullan 58), Danny Cruz (Dominic Oduro 76), Richard Mulrooney, Brad Davis (Geoff Cameron 58), Joseph Ngwenya, Brian Ching.