2010 Aug 28

Fredy wins the battle of the Freds

Seattle Sounders FC  2 - 1  Chicago Fire

Qwest Field, Seattle, WA

28' CHI: John Thorrington (PK)
36' SEA: Fredy Montero (Tyson Wahl)
90' SEA: Fredy Montero (Nathan Sturgis)

Seattle: Kasey Keller; Tyson Wahl, Jeff Parke, Patrick Ianni, James Riley; Alvaro Fernandez (Roger Levesque 90'), Osvaldo Alonso, Nathan Sturgis, Sanna Nyassi (Steve Zakuani 62'); Fredy Montero, Blaise Nkufo (Nate Jaqua 82'). Substitutes not used: Terry Boss, Tyrone Marshall, Zach Scott, Mike Seamon.

Chicago: Sean Johnson; Krzysztof Krol, C.J. Brown, Gonzalo Segares, Steven Kinney; Baggio Husidic, Logan Pause, John Thorrington, Patrick Nyarko (Calen Carr 86'); Collins John, Freddie Ljungberg. Substitutes not used: Andrew Dykstra, Mike Banner, Deris Umanzor, Kwame Watson-Siriboe, Marco Pappa, Brian McBride.

Match report from Ron Stickney:

Classic match. The traded Freddie Ljungberg returned in a Chicago Fire jersey, and the match ticket had his picture in a green jersey. The Seattle Sounders won 2-1 on an added time goal by Fredy Montero, his second of the match. Chicago scored first on a penalty kick that should not have been granted.

Ljungberg gave Chicago the first chance in the second minute when he reacted first to a loose ball and earned a cross that was cleared to Logan Pause, who cracked a shot from 25 yards that couldn't find its way through heavy traffic in the penalty area.

Montero took Seattle's 22 yard free kick in the third minute and bent it nicely around the wall to the lower right corner, and Sean Johnson's save was save of the week material as he blocked it with his left arm and still had to bat it wide with his right hand. The corner kick was cleared to Osvaldo Alonso for one of his long shots, but it went well over the bar.

The 6th minute saw Chicago come close when a long free kick ended with Steven Kinney heading on goal from close, but Kasey Keller was there with a hand to deflect it over the bar.

The match settled down with no chances either way until Montero earned a yellow card for tripping Ljungberg from behind 24 yards from goal. Ljungberg took the free kick and sent it a yard over the top right corner.

28' CHI: Thorrington (PK). The penalty kick was undeserved. Patrick Nyarko's cross hit Jeff Parke's leg and the ball deflected up to his arm and out over the end line. The arm was in a natural playing position. But referee Ramon Hernandez unjustly gave Chicago a penalty kick and John Thorrington blasted it top shelf to the right while Keller dove low the other way. 1-0 Chicago.

36' SEA: Montero (Wahl). After 8 minutes with no chances either way, Seattle suddenly netted an equalizer. Tyson Wahl, who got the start in place of the suspended Leo Gonzalez, kept a ball in play at the left touch line and then curled a cross into the penalty area. Montero barely beat the offside trap to win the ball, but two defenders were closing in. Montero deftly touched the ball sideways to evade Kinney, then shot low to the far corner with Johnson guarding the near side. 1-1.

And that was the last chance of the half for either side.

Seattle controlled play for almost the entire second half, as Chicago were perhaps hoping for a draw that they nearly earned.

Parke had the first chance when a corner kick was played through for him and he shot over the bar. Alvaro Fernandez was knocked down at the spot going for a Montero chip but no PK was awarded. Nkufo's dangerous cross through the goal area on the hour mark missed Fernandez. Fernandez fed Nkufo for a 15-yard shot that missed by a few yards.

At 72' Montero's quick shot from 25 yards up the middle went wide by a yard. Next he chest-trapped a cross from Alonso, turned, and shot right to Johnson.

At 76' Seattle earned a free kick 19 yards from goal. Montero sent it square to Nathan Sturgis, who skied the shot from the top of the arc.

Chicago's first shot of the half came on a free kick at 78', and it hit the wall.

At 81' Seattle corner kicks produced shots first from Patrick Ianni, deflected wide, and then on a cleared ball from Wahl, who sent it two yards over the bar.

Chicago finally had a good chance in the half when Collins John headed a corner kick high on goal, but Keller saved it at the bar.

90' SEA: Montero (Sturgis). The Sounders needed a miracle and Montero delivered it halfway through four minutes of added time. A Seattle throw-in by James Riley went to Sturgis, who sent in a long cross from near the right touch line. The ball cleared the crowd in front of goal and Montero broke loose from his marker and was all alone a few yards from the far post to head it in before Johnson could make the post to post journey. 2-1 Seattle.

Chicago had a late chance to get back to a draw when Ljungberg somehow was allowed to get a foot on a long throw-in into the box, but he skied the shot under pressure and Seattle's lead was safe.

          SEA    CHI
Shots:     13      9
Saves:      3      2
Corners:    6      3
Fouls:     13     18
Offsides:   2      3

22' CHI: Kinney cautioned for a rough foul on Montero
24' SEA: Montero cautioned for tripping Ljungberg from behind
43' SEA: Nkufo cautioned for a foul away from the ball
83' CHI: Ljungberg cautioned for a late foul
90' SEA: Jaqua cautioned for cleating Johnson after he caught the ball

Referees: Ramon Hernandez; Corey Rockwell, Paul Scott; Landis Wiley

Attendance: 36,386 (Sounders MLS record)

Postmatch Quotes

Seattle Sounders FC

Sigi Schmid - Head Coach

General comments: "Obviously we are pleased with the result. We are pleased with the fact that teams in this league that go down a goal you generally lose. So being able to come back after going down on the penalty kick call -- which I haven't seen on the replay yet so I don't how it was per se -- but obviously I thought at the time was a call at against the run of play. I thought we kept our composure. Defensively we kept our shape. They had some good speed but I thought we dealt with that well. We kept their players in check pretty much all over the field which is good defensively. And offensively I thought we created some things coming forward. There are still a little bit better that we can do. We can always do better. Certainly our two goals were very good. Great cross by Tyson Wahl on the first goal and certainly a good ball from Sturgis and run from Fredy Montero on the back post on the second goal so we are very happy."

On winning late: "It is pretty exciting. You do all the hard work and when you win one like that and you score late like you do, it's such an outstanding feeling. That's something that sometimes becomes defining moments for teams in a season. Hopefully this will help us in becoming a defining moment for us."

On the return of Freddie Ljungberg: "We shook hands at the end of the game. We didn't talk before the game; he was all business getting ready for the game. We shook hands after the game, not a problem. He's a great player. I have always said that. I thought we kept him in check pretty well throughout the game. I know our fans were booing every time he touched the ball. I don't think there were a lot of boos so that means he wasn't touching the ball all that much which is good."

Was that Montero's best game he's seen him play?: "Well he got two goals. A lot of times people just measure your game by goals. I think he has played games as good, but certainly his motivation tonight was good and obviously his finishing was good tonight when he the two chances, so I was very pleased with that."

On physical play of Chicago: "They are a pretty physical team. C.J. Brown is a pretty physical player. There were a lot of knocks, bumps and bruises. There's a lot of guys that are pretty bruised in there, but that's just part of the game when you play them."

On Osvaldo Alonso's play: "Alonso, you get used to him winning the ball and covering the ground that he covers, but I thought he did a great job especially because they really played more of a 4-4-2 with a diamond in midfield and let Ljungberg play as the attacking midfielder. So Alonso had him a lot more and I thought he did a good job of getting to him and getting tight, but also helping other people to cover and when he wasn't there Sturgis was there. Ozzie, he has a huge workload that he takes into a game and he covers a lot of ground. He wins a lot of balls."

On Montero's play: "He's a player that drops off the front line a little bit, that's where he feels most comfortable. So he's a player who also is a good passer of the ball. An old coach told me a long time ago that dribblers don't make it in this game and what he meant to say by that is when you look at the great dribblers in the game whether it's a Georgi Best or a Maradona or a Messi, they are also very good passers of the ball. I think Fredy Montero has that ability and so if you are a good passer of the ball and then you can dribble as well and have something extra that is spicing on the cake kind of thing, or the icing, something like that. I get all those things confused - the icing, something like that."

Fredy Montero

On scoring game-winning goal: "It was a very big goal. We have been dreaming about this situation and a goal so late in the game, giving us three points, got us closer to the playoffs."

On scoring two goals against Chicago Fire: "It's a good team and one player doesn't make the entire team."

On his last goal: "It was an excellent ball from Sturgis so all the credit to him. It was a deserved goal and we continue with the season."

On his first goal: "It was first of all a very intelligent placement of the ball from Wahl. When I first controlled the ball it was still bouncing in front of me and I thought that if I shot then it could go too high. So I managed to control it perfectly again and shot it to the goal."

Tyson Wahl

On his assist: "It's been a while since I played a game so it took me a couple touches to get my feet under me. I controlled the ball and saw they had a pretty high line. Fredy was just waiting to cheat it and there was a lot of space to whip it in there and so I just whipped it in. It skipped off the turf pretty nicely and he finished up his second chance on it. I was pretty thankful that he finished that because it was my first assist. I was pretty excited. I was sitting there cheering by myself for a minute ... It was my first career assist. I was excited."

On starting and playing full 90 minutes: "We have a deep team so I have been, I feel like, a little unfortunate this year but I have tried to stay fit, just waiting for my turn and my call-up, been running a lot. Like I said, after the first twenty minutes, once I got my feet under myself I felt good. It was nice to get a team win too at the end there."

Nathan Sturgis

On his assist: "The ball went out of bounds and James was running to it. So I tried to get out there before they could react and close me down. I got the ball, turned and saw guys in the box so I just tried to hit a good cross. Fortunately it got over everyone and got to Fredy on the back post."

On the game-winning goal: "I think any team, any situation you can get a quick restart and sometimes in that situation the defense kind of shuts down a little bit and aren't really paying attention, aren't seeing guys behind them. I think anytime you can get a quick restart or anything to change the pace of the game that you can catch defenses off guard."

On how open Fredy Montero was: "They kind of lost him. They had defenders back there but I guess they maybe misjudged the ball and didn't see him at the back post. That happens sometimes."

On the win: "I think it can [be a defining win]. We need to win our games at home. To end the season a lot of games are on the road so it's really important for us to get three points at home so we don't have as much pressure on the road to get points. I think it was a really big game for us."

Chicago Fire

Carolos de los Cobos - Head Coach

On his general impressions from the match: "I think our team played good. It was a very good game. Both teams played really good football. It was a shame, with what is happening with the last couple of matches, us losing in the final few minutes. Part of the time of maturing of some players, the young players they are learning. This situation is normal."

On his team's plan to stop Fredy Montero: "Fredy Montero is a very good player. We talked how to go about defending him this week, before the match about his mark and ability to move. We can't lose the mark and lose his position because he can take advantage of our situation. It is a shame because our team played really good. I'm sad for the result. I'm also excited because the players made a hundred-percent effort and they played really good."

Freddie Ljungberg

Opening statement: "Of course it's special to come back, you know. I have a special relationship with people in this city and I thought the fans were just amazing. Of course I was booed in the game, and before and after the game they were cheering so I can understand that totally, and it was a nice reception. About the game, of course we're devastated, we lost the game due to marking. There were misses, and they scored two goals, which we're extremely upset about in the locker room. But that can't happen, especially when we play so well for 90 minutes and concede in the last second, the 90th and some extra minutes. We felt we played well. We kept the ball more than Seattle. They're kind of a more straight forward, long ball system and hoping for the second ball so we kind of felt we could control it if we kept the ball which we did some moments in the second half which we were happy with. That's why it's hard, it's devastating to concede on a long ball and marking we were missing in the box."

On being fouled by Montero: "It's football. I wasn't here to do any messages in any way. We're here to play and we're all professionals so we're all great friends with each other so I don't think so."

Adjusting to his new teammates in Chicago: "Normally it takes a while but my new team has been absolutely great and they want to play in a certain way and Carlos is very adamant about the way he wants to play, and keep the ball on the floor. And that's an easy system for me to play, that's how I want to play so I've gotten into it quite well. I've had a great record and played some great football. Unfortunately same thing - we conceded three corners and today we conceded three crosses or long balls and so at the moment we need to go back and concentrate on marking and I think we'll get even more wins."

Sean Johnson

On his impressions from the match: "Over the course of 90 minutes we played very well. It was 1-1 until the 90th minute. It is heart breaking to give up the game winning goal in stoppage time. I have to do a better job of managing the game. You never want to lose a game like that, after fighting so hard."

On his view of the Sounders first goal: "The ball was played right across. We did well to recover and get behind it. We were unlucky and he had a good strike on it, not much we could do about it."

On the game winning goal: "Not sure it was marking or me coming towards the ball, we can't leave guys open at all. We will get it right."

On increase pressure playing in front of a large crowd: "I wasn't any more nervous for this match than any other one. It was a great atmosphere, I like playing in front of big crowds. They have great fans and a great atmosphere. With 36,000 fans, you can't ask for more. I think at the end of the day you have to focus on the game."