FRISCO, Texas – On a night that Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid was searching for answers, he found them in droves at FC Dallas Stadium.
Playing their fourth game in 12 days, Schmid rotated through his lineup to give players rest and cover for injured players.
Defender Jeff Parke stepped in on a moment's notice to start in place of Patrick Ianni, who was having trouble with back spasms that had kept him out of two matches previously. Goalkeeper Bryan Meredith rose to the call to give the Sounders their third consecutive shutout playing for the injured Michael Gspurning. Andy Rose filled in ably for Osvaldo Alonso in the middle of midfield.
And when the Sounders needed an offensive burst in the second half, Fredy Montero stepped up and scored a brace to lift the Sounders to a 2-0 victory – their franchise-best fifth straight win to move them to 7-1-1 on the season.
"We had a lot of tired bodies out there, but you try to get people through it," Schmid said. "I thought our team responded well. I thought we defended well, which we've done all season. I thought Jeff Parke was superb. I thought Meredith came up with a big save at a big time for us and then obviously Montero finished two good goals."
Although FC Dallas had the better first half, it was Seattle that nearly got on the board first.
In the 18th minute, Rose slipped a sneaky pass to Mauro Rosales inside the box and Rosales had three cracks at getting the Sounders out to an early lead. The first was blocked by Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman. The second hit off the post. And the third went over the crossbar for a goal kick.
In the 31st minute, it was Meredith coming up big on the other end. Fabian Castillo crossed the ball from the left side, where it was headed back across the box by Andrew Jacobson for Scott Sealy, who headed for the top left corner. Meredith dove to the corner and stretched his right hand out as far as his 6-foot-3 frame could reach it and swatted it away, then smothered the loosened rebound.
"The ball just got up and kind of floated to the upper 90 and I just did everything I could to get a little tip on it," said Meredith, who made five saves on the night.
At the half, Schmid subbed Montero into the match for Rosales, utilizing his two top offensive threats in shifts to keep them fresh over a difficult stretch of games as both had played most of the minutes over the previous three matches.
The move to Montero paid off quickly too.
Cordell Cato, who came in off the bench in the 66th minute, got into the right corner and outworked his defender to get control of the ball and cross it to Montero at the top of the box. Montero touched it around two defenders, then blasted a shot inside the near post to beat Hartman for the 1-0 lead in the 68th minute.
Before Dallas could catch their breath, Montero would add another. Rose led Alex Caskey into the left corner and Caskey popped a ball into the box, clipping it off a defender. Montero dove for the redirected ball, beating his defender to the ball and heading it in for his second goal of the night and third of the season to put the Sounders up 2-0 in the 71st minute.
"We had a great battle today," Montero smiled. "We scored two goals and we got three points, which was super important for us."
The Sounders are now unbeaten in their last six matches and return home to face Real Salt Lake at CenturyLink Field on Saturday to conclude their stretch of five games in 15 days.
Sounders FC – Fredy Montero (Cordell Cato) 68; Fredy Montero (Alex Caskey) 71.
FC Dallas – None.
Sounders FC – Marc Burch (caution) 30; Jeff Parke (caution) 42; Zach Scott (caution) 75; Fredy Montero (caution) 82.
FC Dallas – George John (caution) 57.
Sounders FC – Bryan Meredith, Zach Scott, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Marc Burch, Mauro Rosales (Fredy Montero 46), Andy Rose, Brad Evans (Servando Carrasco 77), Alex Caskey, Eddie Johnson, David Estrada (Cordell Cato 66).
FC Dallas – Kevin Hartman, Zach Loyd, George John, Matt Hedges, Hernan Pertuz (Ruben Luna 84), Jackson, James Marcelin, Andrew Jacobson, Jair Benitez, Scott Sealy (Brek Shea 70), Fabian Castillo.