Johnson, Montero power Sounders past Whitecaps
A crowd of more than 55,000 watched Seattle win its first Cascadia Cup match of the season.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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Another showcase performance. Another showcase crowd.
Sounders FC's leading men, Fredy Montero and Eddie Johnson, each scored second-half goals and CenturyLink Field hosted another soccer spectacle as Seattle beat rival Vancouver, 2-0, in front of 55,718 fans.
The attendance was remarkably just second-best this month for the Sounders, who beat the Los Angeles Galaxy in front of 60,908 on Aug. 5. It was Seattle's third-most all-time for an MLS game, having topped San Jose last year in front of 64,140.
"I told (general manager Adrian Hanauer) if he can keep getting 50,000, we'll keep winning," coach Sigi Schmid said with a smile, "because every league game over 50, we've won. So we don't mind if for the next game they want to open up more seats and get another 55,000 in here."
The win moved Seattle (11-6-7) into sole possession of third place in the Western Conference, breaking a tie with the Whitecaps (10-9-7) and Galaxy (11-11-4). It also moved the Sounders past a difficult last week that saw them lose in an attempt to win a record fourth-straight U.S. Open Cup and again in last-second fashion to San Jose in league play.
Seattle improved to 62-46-20 in the series against Vancouver, which dates to 1974 in the old North American Soccer League, and also earned its first win in the 2012 Cascadia Cup, a fan-sponsored competition among Seattle, Vancouver and the Portland Timbers.
"It's the best feeling that a player can have at the end of the game — three points, making goals, having a good game in a derby," said midfielder Mauro Rosales, who earned his team-leading 10th assist.
After a contentious first half ended scoreless and, surprisingly, without any yellow cards issued, Seattle broke through in the 64th minute. Montero, who had come off the bench three minutes earlier, collected a pass from defender Jeff Parke after a Rosales free kick and sneaked a close-range shot past a sliding defender and diving goalkeeper Joe Cannon.
Montero, who didn't start due to an excused absence Friday, has eight goals on the season and four in four games against Vancouver.
The Sounders added insurance in the 87th minute when midfielder Brad Evans' cross from the right side set up Johnson perfectly for a tap-in into an open goal.
"Credit to Brad, I just had to get on the end of it," Johnson said.
Johnson has 11 goals, one away from tying the team record in a single season (Montero had 12 in 2009 and 2011) with 10 games to go. The 28-year-old has also scored in all three rivalry games this season.
The Sounders finished with a 12-5 advantage in shots.
"I think the lads came out today and showed in the second half that we're a team to be reckoned with," said defender Jeff Parke, "and we definitely deserved the three points."
Schmid, who started his 23rd different lineup in 24 MLS games, was particularly proud that both of the Sounders' high-profile forwards scored — a feat that has happened four times this season.
"I think it substantiates what we're trying to do with those two guys," Schmid said, "and when you start adding it up now, they're starting to get to a place where they're probably one of the best three, four combinations in the league in terms of goal production."
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or email@example.com. On Twitter @joshuamayers.
|Vancouver||0 0 — 0|
|Seattle||0 2 — 2|
Vancouver — Joe Cannon, Carlyle Mitchell, Andy O'Brien, Young-Pyo Lee, Alain Rochat, Dane Richards, Camilo (Russell Teibert, 74th), Jun Marques Davidson, Gershon Koffie, Kenny Miller, Darren Mattocks (Atiba Harris, 90th).
Seattle — Michael Gspurning, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez, Adam Johansson (Zach Scott, 79th), Jeff Parke, Mauro Rosales (Andy Rose, 87th), Alex Caskey (Fredy Montero, 61st), Brad Evans, Christian Tiffert, Osvaldo Alonso, Eddie Johnson.
|Seattle moved three points clear of Vancouver and Los Angeles and alone into third place in the conference standings. The top three teams get a first-round bye in the playoffs.|
|Western Conference standings|
|Real Salt Lake(||13||10||3||42|
|Sounders have 10 MLS games remaining in the regular season|