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Montero lifts Sounders to draw

Fredy Montero came off the bench to equalize for the Sounders in a 2-2 road draw with the Red Bulls.

HARRISON, NJ – For the second time in three appearances at Red Bull Arena, the Sounders FC has earned points on a late substitution of Fredy Montero.

In 2010, he came on late in the match to put away the game-winning goal in a 1-0 Seattle victory.

And on Sunday, he came on as a sub in the 62nd minute and deposited his fifth goal of the year in the 67th minute to equalize for the Sounders in a 2-2 draw with New York, extending their unbeaten streak to four straight matches.

“He’s always played well for us off the bench,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said, noting his extensive minutes in the Open Cup semifinal victory this week as part of his reasoning behind playing Montero off the bench.  “His mentality is good and it’s great when you can play a player like that off the bench.  He played a lot of minutes for us on Wednesday, so we felt it was better to bring him off the bench today because that could help us the most.  It turned out to be a good situation for him.

On a hot and humid afternoon in New Jersey, the Sounders got an early goal from Alvaro Fernandez, but were unable to hold off the high-scoring Red Bulls, who got goals from Sebastien Le Toux and Joel Lindpere to take the lead before Montero’s late equalizer.

In the 16th minute, Adam Johansson sent a great ball into the box from the right side, putting it over the heads of the New York defense to the far post.  Fernandez slid in and put it past New York goalkeeper Bill Gaudette for his second goal in as many matches, giving Seattle the 1-0 lead.

And while Seattle continued to hold most of the dangerous possession, the Red Bulls were able to bounce back when Le Toux put away the rebound of a Kenny Cooper shot to equalize in the 24th minute.

Both teams looked to add on before the half, but Eddie Johnson’s shot from the left side was parried away in the 32nd minute and Markus Holgersson’s header clanged off the crossbar just before halftime and they went into the break tied 1-1.

In the 61st minute, though, the Red Bulls would spring out to the lead.  Lindpere took a pass from Brandon Barklage on the right side of the box, then cut it back to his left foot and shot it inside the near post past a diving Bryan Meredith for his third goal of the year, giving New York the 2-1 lead.

After the goal, Montero subbed into the match and quickly scored his fifth goal of the season, redirecting a ball from Brad Evans inside the far post to equalize in the 67th minute.  It was his fourth goal to go with two assists in eight career appearances off the bench for the Sounders.

“He has shown his ability to come off the bench and impact the game,” Schmid said.

Even still, the Sounders would need more late heroics from Johansson to walk out with a point.

In the 75th minute, Johansson made the play of the night, as Dax McCarty headed a corner kick that looked destined to put New York in the lead, but Johansson was there to clear it off the line and the Sounders held on for the draw.

“Obviously we’re pleased to come out with a point,” Schmid said.  “I thought we showed a lot of character going down 2-1, then coming back getting the equalizer, holding on to the tie at the end of the day.”

The tie moves the Sounders into sole possession of third place in the Western Conference, taking the lead over the Vancouver Whitecaps and behind only the San Jose Earthquakes and Real Salt Lake.

The Sounders will meet Chelsea FC in a friendly at CenturyLink Field on Wednesday, then return to MLS play on July 28 in a road match against the Colorado Rapids.

Sounders FC – Alvaro Fernandez (Adam Johansson) 16; Fredy Montero (Brad Evans, Adam Johansson) 67.
Red Bulls – Sebastien Le Toux 24; Joel Lindpere (Brandon Barklage) 61.

Sounders FC – Marc Burch (caution) 44; Andy Rose (caution) 66.
Red Bulls – Connor Lade (caution) 53; Thierry Henry (caution) 74.

Sounders FC – Bryan Meredith, Adam Johansson, Patrick Ianni, Jeff Parke, Marc Burch, Brad Evans (Servando Carrasco 85), Osvaldo Alonso, Andy Rose (Leo Gonzalez 77), Alvaro Fernandez, Mauro Rosales (Fredy Montero 62), Eddie Johnson.
Red Bulls – Bill Gaudette, Brandon Barklage, Rafa Marquez (Wilman Conde 21), Markus Holgersson, Roy Miller, Dax McCarty, Connor Lade, Joel Lindpere, Kenny Cooper, Thierry Henry, Sebastien Le Toux.