Sounders win 2-0 at CenturyLink, finish preseason unbeaten
Forward Fredy Montero scored two second-half goals and the Sounders cruised past Mexican Primera Division club Jaguares de Chiapas, 2-0, in front of 11,140.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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One last tuneup.
That's what Sounders FC wanted in its preseason finale against Mexico's Jaguares de Chiapas, and if Wednesday was any indication, Seattle is ready for the 2012 season.
Forward Fredy Montero continued his torrid scoring pace with two second-half goals and the Sounders cruised past the competitive Mexican Primera Division club, 2-0, in front of 11,140 at CenturyLink Field. Seattle finished the preseason an unbeaten 5-0-2 and the winners of five straight.
But coach Sigi Schmid said the results don't matter.
"Preseason is preseason. What I put more value on is the quality of play, and I think our quality of play is pretty good," Schmid said.
Montero broke a scoreless tie in the 61st minute, heading in a cross from defender Adam Johansson for a shot that just sneaked past Jaguares goalkeeper Edgar Hernandez. Seattle's 24-year-old Colombian followed that up in the 73rd minute with a masterfully delicate chip shot from the top of the penalty box that floated over the helpless Hernandez into the corner of the net.
"It was (a split-second) decision and it was a good goal," said Montero, smiling through his understatement.
The world-class goal, Montero's team-leading fifth in five preseason games, wasn't lost on his teammates.
"Amazing. ... Amazing," said a lost-for-words Mauro Rosales.
"It's a very 'a-la-Fredy' goal," said Alvaro Fernandez through an interpreter.
Goalkeeper Michael Gspurning wasn't seriously tested and needed to make just one save as the Sounders' defense earned its fourth shutout in five games.
And so begins the countdown to an ever-important CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal against Mexico's Santos Laguna. Seattle hosts the first leg of a home-and-home aggregate goals series here at 7 p.m. on March 7; the road leg is March 14.
Players tried to use Wednesday's game to prepare as best as possible because, as Fernandez said, the Santos game "will be very different" than the preseason.
Added Rosales: "This was the last game before we play one of the most important games in Sounders history. We talked about how we have to be ready as if it was as important as the Santos game."
Most of Seattle's opportunities came through — who else? — Montero. The forward had a great scoring chance in the 38th minute, but his close-range shot in front of goal was blocked by a defender. In the 41st minute, Montero fired a free kick that curled wide.
Wednesday's game was Sounders FC's third-annual Community Shield. Admission was free, but with donations collected at the gate the team raised over $34,000 for its charitable partners. Everyone went home happy.
"We are very proud to win our first game in front of our fans," said Rosales, who served as team captain and appears likely to for the rest of the 2012 season. "We hope we can get another victory next Wednesday."
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or firstname.lastname@example.org On Twitter @joshuamayers.