The Sounders FC topped Toronto FC 1-0 on Saturday on a free kick goal by Fredy Montero in the 90th minute, playing down a man for the final 41 minutes of the match after Jhon Kennedy Hurtado was given his second yellow card of the match. Seattle improved to 6-4-7 with the win and sit in third place in the Western Conference with 25 points.
Hurtado’s red card was the clear turning point in the match, but the change in tide actually turned in Seattle’s favor. As Kasey Keller pointed out after the match, teams that go down a man tend to increase their efforts and play a much more conservative, controlled style while the team with the advantage can often approach the game like they expect things to naturally turn their way. That seemed to be the case on Saturday, as the Sounders made incredible adjustments when they faced adversity.
Mauro Rosales was singled out by Sigi Schmid afterward as his Man of the Match and it’s hard to argue. He was again an incredible threat on the right wing, providing service and controlling possession when needed. He was fouled often by Toronto, which has become a frequent occurrence for Rosales, and was taken down to set up the free kick that Montero put away for the game-winner.
Zach Scott came on in a pinch after Hurtado was sent off and was integral in preserving the clean sheet. He’s played on the left and right for the Sounders in the last three seasons, but has been playing center back in Reserve League matches and filled that role on Saturday when the team needed him most and the defense didn’t miss a beat. Others may have made bigger impacts on the game, but his play was certainly worth mention.
What We Learned
Montero loves shale - For the second time this year, the Sounders wore their shale kits and for the second time this year, Montero scored the lone goal in that second kit. He did it in a 1-1 draw with the Columbus Crew and he did it again on Saturday.
Never count out the Sounders - This game was headed to a 0-0 draw. While Seattle was playing better in the second half, it still seemed destined to end scoreless. But Seattle was not to be denied and when the opportunity arose, they took advantage. It’s their seventh goal of the year that came after the 79th minute and the third time they scored in the 90th minute or later to win or tie the game.
Next In Line
Seattle will host the New York Red Bulls on Thursday with the Sounders looking to extend their four-game unbeaten streak. New York is 5-2-8 (23 points) to lead the Eastern Conference. However, they are just 1-1-6 in their last eight matches. Additionally, they will be playing without stars Tim Ream, Juan Agudelo and Rafa Marquez, who are away on international duty, and Thierry Henry, who will serve a red card suspension. Also, Dane Richards may make his first appearance after being away with the Jamaican National Team.