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Montero's late goal salvages Sounders tie with Vancouver
Sounders FC forward Fredy Montero scored a remarkable equalizer in the 90th minute of Saturday's game against Vancouver, curling in a shot from the top of the penalty box to help Seattle escape with a 2-2 tie
Seattle Times staff reporter
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VANCOUVER, B.C. — Who else to score a dramatic goal ... in a rivalry game ... on the road ... than Fredy Montero?
The talented Sounders FC forward has a penchant for the theatrical, having scored four times last season at Cascadia foes Vancouver and Portland, and he showed it again Saturday. Montero deftly avoided a Whitecaps defender in the 90th minute to create space for an open shot and expertly curled the ball inside the far post for a late equalizer, allowing Seattle to sneak out of BC Place with a 2-2 tie.
The last-gasp goal, Montero's fourth in five games, kept Seattle (7-2-2) unbeaten in its past nine road games dating to August.
"It's always good to have goals in these kinds of games. I'm really happy about that," said the 24-year-old Colombian, who had been thwarted three times by Vancouver goalkeeper Joe Cannon in the second half.
The Sounders nearly found a game-winner in the final minute of stoppage time, but defender Zach Scott headed a cross just wide.
A tie in the first Cascadia Cup game of 2012, in front of 21,000 fans, might have been more than the Sounders deserved and was certainly more than it looked like they were going to get.
Vancouver, after missing tons of scoring chances throughout the game, took the lead in the 82nd minute in somewhat fluky fashion. Midfielder Camilo swung in a cross on a long free kick that appeared to take a deflection as it oddly bounced straight into the net. Sounders goalkeeper Bryan Meredith said he was caught in between playing the ball and anticipating a header or deflection.
The bizarre sequence marked the first time this season Seattle has allowed multiple goals in an MLS game. But the Sounders — who have a 1-0-2 record against Vancouver despite allowing the first goal in each game — would have an answer.
"Obviously when they went up 2-1 they thought they pretty much had it, and Fredy Montero scores a great goal," said coach Sigi Schmid, who dropped Montero back more into the midfield at halftime and played Eddie Johnson more as a lone forward.
Vancouver (5-3-3) pressed the action early and earned the game's opening goal in the 12th minute through Alain Rochat. The Whitecaps defender made a run down the left flank and, when no Sounder closed him down, he dribbled to within a few yards of the goal and fired an uncontested shot past Meredith.
It was the first goal Seattle has allowed in the first half since March.
"I don't really know exactly what it was, but instead of having everyone shift over, we kind of just hung out inside," Meredith explained. "It was a good finish, but he had all day really."
Vancouver kept the pressure on, but young forwards Omar Salgado (33rd minute) and Darren Mattocks (41st) each blew open chances. Mattocks, the Whitecaps' first-round pick in January's MLS SuperDraft, had another good look moments into the second half, but missed high.
"We were fortunate a little bit that Mattocks didn't have a good day finishing," said Schmid.
Seattle took advantage of the break and found its first equalizer in the 47th minute. Johnson capped the scoring play on a powerful header, his third goal of the season, off a pinpoint cross by midfielder Mauro Rosales.
Johnson's forward partner, Montero, would provide excitement worthy of the stage with a needed goal later in the half.
"This is what derby games are all about," said Schmid. "I think it was a great game for the fans."
An estimated 1,000 Sounders fans made the trip and made their presence known.
"You don't know how much that means for our fans to leave with something," Johnson said. "They drove all the way up here, came out to support us. It would've been sad to go home with nothing."
• Sounders FC next hosts Columbus at 7 p.m. Wednesday at CenturyLink Field.
• Seattle leads the all-time series with Vancouver 61-45-20.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or email@example.com
On Twitter: @joshuamayers
|Seattle||0 2 — 2|
|Vancouver||1 1 — 2|
Seattle — Brian Meredith, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Marc Burch (Zach Scott, 85th), Jeff Parke, Adam Johansson, Alvaro Fernandez (David Estrada, 72nd), Alex Caskey (Andy Rose, 46th), Osvaldo Alonso, Mauro Rosales, Eddie Johnson, Fredy Montero.
Vancouver — Joe Cannon, Jay DeMerit, Alain Rochat, Young-Pyo Lee, Martin Bonjour, Jun Marques Davidson, Gershon Koffie, Davide Chiumiento (Camilo, 80th), Darren Mattocks (Eric Hassli, 64th), Sebastien Le Toux, Omar Salgado (John Thorrington, 74th).