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Montero stays hot to lead Sounders to road draw

Montero's equalizer helps Sounders finish with a 1-1 draw against the New York Red Bulls.

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – The Sounders had the framework for a road win on Saturday at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ. But Fredy Montero found the framework of the goal rather than the net on two separate occasions and the Sounders finished with a 1-1 draw with the New York Red Bulls.

Montero scored his seventh goal of the season just before halftime to equalize after Juan Pablo Angel put New York up in the 40th minute with his fifth goal of the year.

“A bittersweet tie, due to all the preparation we put towards this game, but I’m content because the team little by little is settling in,” Montero said

In the absences of Freddie Ljungberg and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Sebastien Le Toux and Patrick Ianni came on to play strong games to help secure the road draw. Ljungberg suffered hamstring tightness prior to kickoff and Hurtado flew back to Seattle Friday for the birth of his son, Paulo.

Ianni made a key stop in the early-going against Angel and Le Toux provided good service and pressure from the right wing despite twice coming on the receiving end of a cleat to the ankle.

Montero nearly put the Sounders on the board first off of a corner kick from Le Toux. In the 33rd minute, Le Toux whipped in the corner from the right side and Montero got his head on it, but it hit off the crossbar and was cleared.

Just a few minutes later, a defensive misplay put the ball in a dangerous spot at Angel’s feet at the top of the box with just Kasey Keller to beat. New York played the ball into Seattle’s end, but Tyrone Marshall tried to clear it on the volley, knocking it right into an unsuspecting Ianni just eight yards away. The carom fell to Angel and Keller, seeing the ball coming back toward him, came off his line to meet Angel, but that left him vulnerable to the Colombian striker and Angel touched to his left before shooting into the open net for a 1-0 lead.

New York nearly added to the lead two minutes later, but Keller knocked a Nick Zimmerman shot into the air for one of his three saves.

Then, just before the halftime whistle, Montero made his mark, sliding in to steal the ball off the feet of New York defender Jeremy Hall deep in the left corner. He then controlled the ball, carried it into the box and lifted it over goalkeeper Danny Cepero to even the score two minutes into first-half stoppage time.

“That was an unbelievable goal. When he strikes all of the ball and he gets all of the ball, there’s not much anybody can do to stop it, and he just ripped it,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. “We gave away a goal that we shouldn’t have given away, but we were able to get one back. So as we said at halftime, it was all even; they gave us one, we gave them one.”

Seattle had a near-miss to start the second half when Le Toux sent in a short corner to Brad Evans, who back-heeled the ball to Ianni in front of the open net, but his redirection was turned away by Cepero at close range.

In the 85th minute, Montero showed his dynamic dribbling to dice his way through three New York defenders. Cepero came out to challenge him, but Montero slipped a shot past him, only to have it rebound off the upright and bounce right back to Cepero.

The draw was the Sounders second in a row after a 3-3 draw with DC United on Wednesday. Playing three games in the last eight days, Seattle went 1-0-2 for five points, winning 2-1 over the San Jose Earthquakes to start the stretch.

Montero scored a goal in each of those three games to get back on a hot streak. He scored three goals over the first two games of the year.

The Sounders reached the halfway point in the season at 5-3-7 (22 points) in third place in the MLS Western Conference. New York moves to 2-10-4 (10 points) for seventh in the Eastern Conference.

Seattle will host the Colorado Rapids at Qwest Field Sunday. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 pm.