Major move forward for Sounders in victory
Talented duo of Johnson-Montero puts away Los Angeles
Seattle Times staff reporter
Philadelphia @ Seattle, 1:30 p.m., NBC Sports
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Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid had hopes his forward pairing of Fredy Montero and Eddie Johnson could emerge as the best in MLS by the end of the season.
The wait might not take that long.
Each had a goal — Montero's in spectacular fashion — as Seattle cruised past a less-than-full-strength Los Angeles Galaxy with a 2-0 victory Wednesday at CenturyLink Field. It was the first time since 2009 that the Sounders had beaten Los Angeles in a league game, ending a woeful 0-5-1 run against the MLS Cup champion of last year.
"I don't think it's going to be the last time you see us play a game where both Eddie Johnson and Montero score in the same game," Schmid said after his team's third consecutive victory. "I think this is the first of a few that are going to go that way."
The result kept Seattle (5-1-1) on a franchise-best start to the season.
The home side opened the scoring when Johnson skipped in a header off a pinpoint cross from captain Mauro Rosales in the 40th minute. It was the second winning goal in as many games for Johnson, who blew kisses to the crowd in celebration.
Immediately afterward, chants of "Ed-die John-son!" rang throughout the stadium crowd of 39,002.
Seattle got insurance from Montero, who was painstakingly close to scoring earlier were it not for some tremendous saves by Galaxy goalkeeper Bill Gaudette.
Montero left no doubt about his scoring intentions in the 48th minute, slamming home a stunning 35-yard drive past a helpless Gaudette in the top corner of the goal. The highlight reel-worthy blast ended his 1,083-minute scoreless drought.
The 24-year-old Colombian fell to the ground in an emotional celebration.
"This is soccer," Montero said. "You don't know exactly what is the reason (why the goals weren't going in), but finally I scored, and I'm happy about that."
Montero's last goal was Oct. 18 in a CONCACAF Champions League game against Mexico's Monterrey.
The quality of the strike had teammates raving.
"It was an amazing shot," said goalkeeper Michael Gspurning. "I'm definitely happy that I don't have to play against Fredy."
Schmid tabbed it the favorite for MLS Goal of the Week.
Seattle's vaunted defense held on for the fourth shutout of the year as Los Angeles pushed bodies forward late in the game. Backup goalkeeper Bryan Meredith was forced into his first MLS action to preserve the clean sheet after Gspurning came out at halftime with a right hip injury.
The result ended a three-game unbeaten streak for the Galaxy (3-4-1), which didn't bring designated players David Beckham and Robbie Keane on the trip to give them rest.
Their absences took some luster out of what was billed as an MLS showcase, as Seattle and Los Angeles have compiled the best league records combined over the past three seasons.
Before the game, Schmid said the matchup would be a measuring stick for his team and something that could elevate Seattle to the "next level," but the Galaxy's weakened lineup made it harder to draw such conclusions in the end.
Schmid said he didn't take offense to the players Los Angeles sent and that it didn't diminish the psychological relief of the breakthrough.
The Sounders players felt the same.
"That's their problem. I don't care," said defender Zach Scott. "Look at us, we're two-deep at every position. On any given day somebody can start. ... Whoever is out there for us, we're going to go out there and win."
• Sounders FC continues a busy stretch with a 1:30 p.m. home game Saturday against Philadelphia. It will mark the third of five games in the span of 15 days and Seattle's first two-game week.
• The match Wednesday featured the league's two winningest coaches: Schmid (162 MLS victories) and Los Angeles' Bruce Arena (131). Arena boasts a slim 6-5-5 advantage head-to-head.
• Gspurning and Beckham each celebrated birthdays Wednesday.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or email@example.com.
On Twitter @joshuamayers
|Los Angeles||0 0 — 0|
|Seattle||1 1 — 2|
Los Angeles — Bill Gaudette, David Junior Lopes, A.J. DeLaGarza, Sean Franklin, Marcelo Sarvas, Landon Donovan, Juninho, Bryan Gaul, Adam Cristman (Edson Buddle, 53rd), Chad Barrett (Mike Magee, 58th), Bryan Jordan (Pat Noonan, 71st).
Seattle — Michael Gspurning (Brian Meredith, 46th), Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez, Zach Scott, Mauro Rosales (Marc Burch, 74th), Brad Evans, Osvaldo Alonso, Fredy Montero, Eddie Johnson (Alex Caskey, 81st), David Estrada.