Fredy Montero comes off bench to give Sounders FC 1-0 win over Red Bulls
Forward scores the game's lone goal in the 85th minute to end Seattle's four-game winless streak.
Special to the Seattle Times
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HARRISON, N.J. — The loud fallout from Sounders FC's 4-0 lashing at the hands of the Los Angeles Galaxy last weekend echoed well into the week, with coach Sigi Schmid warning his squad that changes were imminent.
On Saturday night, the changes — a benched star and a new formation — were clear, and the consequence, to the Sounders' relief, was immediate.
With the help of Fredy Montero, who scored a spectacular goal in the 85th minute after surprisingly starting the game on the bench, Sounders FC, working in a revamped 4-5-1 formation, beat the New York Red Bulls 1-0 to earn its first win away from home this season and snap a four-game winless streak.
The victory leaves the Sounders (3-3-3) with 12 points, which in a cramped Western Conference table puts them right back into the mix.
"After last week, we really needed to get back to the way we play," said captain Kasey Keller, whose lone save came in the second half. "I'm proud of everybody and proud of the club for the way we turned things around."
Schmid said after the game that his decision to bench Montero arose from what he perceived as a lack of off-the-ball effort from the 22-year-old striker.
"Fredy had just gotten into a habit where he just wasn't quite active enough for me," Schmid said. "We tried to point that out to him, and it wasn't getting through, so we went this way."
But, Schmid added, "I told him yesterday, 'You're not starting, but the minutes you're going to play are going to be the most important minutes of the game.' "
Schmid's prophecy was realized five minutes before the end of regulation, when Brad Evans — who spearheaded the Sounders' formation as a lone striker — chipped an ambitious ball toward the box, where Montero had made a surging run.
He received the ball on his chest and took a touch with his knee before slotting it just inside the left post.
"He's got that ability, that little bit of skill, that little bit of calm at the key moment, and he finished a great goal," Schmid said.
Before Montero's goal, the Sounders' offense was largely driven by Sanna Nyassi, who started in Montero's stead and was dangerous all night on the right wing. He took three shots in the game and served a number of dangerous crosses into the box.
The crowd of 17,900 at Red Bull Arena was bolstered by a large contingent of Sounders fans, who took over Section 220 at the arena's north end and went wild after Montero's goal. It was the first loss for New York in its new stadium.
SOUNDERS FC 1, RED BULLS 0
|Seattle||0 1 — 1|
|New York||0 0 — 0|
Seattle — Kasey Keller, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, James Riley, Leo Gonzalez, Patrick Ianni, Tyrone Marshall, Sanna Nyassi (Fredy Montero, 77th), Brad Evans (Pat Noonan, 88th), Steve Zakuani, Peter Vagenas (Nathan Sturgis, 65th), Freddie Ljungberg.
New York — Bouna Coundoul, Danleigh Borman, Mike Petke, Tim Ream, Jeremy Hall, Joel Lindpere, Dane Richards (Sinisa Ubiparipovic, 56th), Seth Stammler, Carl Robinson (Tony Tchani, 87th), Salou Ibrahim (Brian Nielsen, 53rd), Juan Pablo Angel.
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