2010 Aug 8

Fredy Montero's goal and assist power the Sounders past the Houston Dynamo

Seattle Sounders FC  2 - 0  Houston Dynamo

Qwest Field, Seattle, WA

64' SEA: Fredy Montero (Kasey Keller)
88' SEA: Alvaro Fernandez (Fredy Montero)

Seattle: Kasey Keller; Leo Gonzalez, Jeff Parke, Patrick Ianni, James Riley; Steve Zakuani (Alvaro Fernandez 69'), Osvaldo Alonso, Nathan Sturgis, Sanna Nyassi (Mike Seamon 85'); Fredy Montero, Blaise Nkufo (Nate Jaqua 87'). Substitutes not used: Terry Boss, Tyrone Marshall, Zach Scott, Roger Levesque.

Houston: Tally Hall; Mike Chabala, Andrew Hainault, Bobby Boswell, Eddie Robinson; Brad Davis (Geoff Cameron 58'), Richard Mulrooney, Danny Cruz (Dominic Oduro 76'), Corey Ashe (Brian Mullan 58'); Joseph Ngwenya, Brian Ching. Substitutes not used: Tyler Deric, Francisco Navas Cobo, Anthony Obodai, Cam Weaver.

Match report from Ron Stickney:

The Seattle Sounders FC made it four league wins in a row with a 2-0 decision over the visiting Houston Dynamo. With both defenses allowing few chances, Fredy Montero turned a half chance into a goal, then assisted newcomer Alvaro Fernandez on an insurance goal late in the match.

Seattle's defense allowed Houston just six shots, none good chances and none on frame, allowing Kasey Keller to notch a shutout without making a save. Houston's defense was also stingy until they allowed Montero's goal three quarters of the way through the match. Playing in goal for Houston was Gig Harbor's Tally Hall.

Houston only shot twice in the first half -- one was Brian Ching's try from the center of the 18-yard line, sent yards over the bar.

Seattle had a few chances the first half. Montero took a 30-yard free kick up the middle and the wall deflected it wide for a corner. Montero had a better chance after claiming a turnover and carrying the ball into the penalty area to rip a shot that Hall pushed wide of the near post. A Seattle free kick play gave Sanna Nyassi a shot from the right and Hall was in position at the near post to make the block save. Nkufo from 20 yards forced a low save.

Seattle opened the second half by springing Steve Zakuani through on the left with only Hall to beat, but Hall got down to deflect the shot wide for a corner. The second consecutive corner kick was cleared to Osvaldo Alonso for a shot that missed by a few yards.

Houston's first shot of the second half came at 54' when Danny Cruz skied a shot from the right. Joseph Ngwenya netted the ball at 57' but he was correctly flagged offside on the play, inside the goal area.

At 61' for Seattle Alonso ripped a shot from a cleared ball and Hall made a great save to deny a goal.

A minute later for Houston Andrew Hainault's header from a long free kick missed wide.

64' SEA: Montero (Keller). Long punts usually are dealt with by the defense, but this time Montero chested the ball down on the first bounce with Eddie Robinson on his back. Montero turned one way as Robinson expected the opposite way, leaving Montero free to shoot, and he beat Hall with a shot to the lower far corner. 1-0 Seattle.

At 70' for Houston Ching's header from a long free kick was not close. Then ten minutes went by without any good chances either way until Sounders midfielder Nathan Sutrgis forced a save with a 30-yard shot.

88' SEA: Fernandez (Montero). With Houston pushing forward in search of a goal, Seattle capitalized on a counterattack. Nate Jaqua found Montero open in the middle, and Montero put a nice 45-degree pass in front of Fernandez' timed run up the left side. Fernandez seemed to misplay his first touch, but he recovered in time to put a low shot by Hall before a defender could arrive. Hall got a piece of the ball but in it went. 2-0 Seattle.

A minute later Alonso was sprung close to goal for a shot and Hall made the save.

At the end Brian Mullan tried from 25 yards for Houston and sent it well over the bar. It was a frustrating night for the Houston offense as nobody came close other than the offside goal.

          SEA    HOU
Shots:     14      6
Saves:      0      7
Corners:   10      5
Fouls:     13     13
Offsides:   1      6

28' SEA: Nyassi cautioned for a late tackle
32' SEA: Riley cautioned for a late challenge
50' SEA: Nkufo cautioned for a trip from behind
59' HOU: Mullan cautioned
59' HOU: Chabala cautioned for chopping down Nyassi
70' SEA: Sturgis cautioned for a tactical foul

Referees: Michael Kennedy; Chris Strickland, Jeff Hosking; Alejandro Mariscal

Attendance: 36,111

Postmatch Quotes

Seattle Sounders FC

Sigi Schmid - Head Coach

General comments: "We're happy with the win. Something that we've been talking about is getting to .500. We've also been talking a lot about making our home games our home games again and making sure that we win at home. Today was a good result, especially against Houston. Last year and in the past when we've played teams that are more physical or robust they are teams that have given us a hard time. We were able to match that and came out ahead at the end of the day, so I was very pleased."

On Fredy Montero and Alvaro Fernandez: "On the goal he [Fredy Montero] did a great job because he was able to post the guy up and hold him off, shield the ball and then hit a great shot. And the ball he [Montero] slipped through to Flaco [Alvaro Fernandez] was great. He made a good run and then his composure showed because he mistouched it on his first touch, but he was able to recover and his composure on the finish was very good. Being able to finish plays is something that allows you to win games and he's done it twice for us now in the past two games."

On player combinations: "Defensively, Parke and Ianni played really well together in the middle, not to discount our outside backs. I thought they played well also. Sturgis and Alonso have formed a pretty good partnership in the middle of the field that has allowed our wide guys to get sprung forward. We're working hard. When you look at the game, there's a lot of shots we blocked, which means guys are really sacrificing themselves. Offensively, we're getting in behind. I'd still like to see us finish chances a little better. Sanna got in behind a couple times in the first half where I thought we were going to get something out of it. We have to read the runs that Nkufo makes because he was in a couple times, but we found him a lot more often today. I think it's starting to gel together. We have a little time to practice this week and want to go down to Chivas and get ourselves another result."

On strength on the ball: "Strength on the ball has nothing do with size. It's about body position. It's how you're able to technically control the ball as it comes to you. Those are the things that are important, but it's really your body position. You look at a guy like Guillermo Schelotto who is very strong on the ball, but he's not a big guy and Montero is the same. He knows how to get his body positioned well."

On Blaise Nkufo: "I told him that tonight was going to be a physical night. He was going against two guys who are certainly very aggressive and would play him very tight. He's not a flopper, so obviously he felt he got taken down a few times. Michael Kennedy saw it one way, the referee saw it one way, we probably saw it a different way. I told him that we both probably needed to watch the game again and then we could talk."

On offense from Alvaro Fernandez: "That's what we felt he could give us. When he was playing in Chile he played as an attacking wide right guy. He's played on the left and he can also play in the middle of the midfield. He's definitely someone who can get forward and attack. There were a couple of other times he was almost in as well. He's not a guy who's going to dribble at you the way that Zakuani does, but he's going to one-two around you and he has great speed. He has more speed than people realize because he's very fluid in his running style."

On player additions adding physicality to team: "It certainly helped us. His ability to occupy a defender and be strong on the ball and bring the other players into the game is important. It's something that Jaqua gave us last year early in the year.

Fredy Montero

On scoring goals: "For sure in Colombia, I won the title of top scorer twice in 2007 and 2008 and I'd like to be on that path again playing here."

On his goal today: "The merit goes to Kasey Keller for the pass."

On team getting better: "This is definitely the highest level that the team has had. I'm proud to share the field with my teammates. We're going to keep building and be able to match up with every team out there."

On having seven Hispanic players helping chances in CONCACAF: "In the locker room there are no nationalities. It's working out well. For those who get to go, it's pride to defend the shield of the Sounders."

On missing Freddy Ljungberg: "He's a very important player and he has a lot of experience, but now we're scoring goals and that's what was missing, so that's what is important."

Alvaro Fernandez

On goal: "I'm very happy on the personal level as well as for the team. It's good to win at home."

On MLS: "This is a hard league. The teams are very even, so it makes it very interesting to play."

On preferred position to play: "I can play on the left. I can play on the right. So long as I'm a midfielder, I can play wherever the coach needs me."

Kasey Keller

On the win: "It's so nice going into that last minute with that two-goal lead. That was tremendous. I'm proud of everybody. The fans, once again, were tremendous. What can you say? We are on that run we were hoping to get started and long may it last."

On recording an assist: "It was my first one. My last one was actually in a friendly against Germany, so it was nice to get another one. It's been a while."

On Fredy Montero: "Fredy is on fire. He's working extremely hard. He is doing some great stuff. If he keeps up in that form, he can very easily become leading goal scorer. What I like so much about his game right now is that he has got a ton of assists as well. He is really turning into a complete player and I'm proud of him."

Houston Dynamo

Dominic Kinnear - Head Coach

On any positive's coming after the match: "No."

On the least negative moment of the match: "The first goal. I saw a long ball from the back that we did not deal with and they scored. It was a winnable ball. We didn't deal with it."

On anything that will turn this season around: "A win, simple as that. A hard thing to do, but an easy thing to talk about. We need a win."

On the physical nature of this match: "Nothing more than previous matches. I think they have always been pretty physical. I think it was a pretty normal match between these two teams."

Tally Hall

On his view of the first goal scored by Fredy Montero: "He was battling with Eddie and it was a bad turn. He is a crafty player, a good player and he got a turn inside. The shot was low and in the corner, a difficult place to make the save. It is difficult for us because we were looking for a win coming out of this game."

On Alvaro Fernandez break away goal: "We were throwing as many numbers as we could to equalize and he comes up. I was able to get something on it but that wasn't enough. We are two more in the hole than the start of the game; it's difficult to come back from a deficit like that."