Forward Fredy Montero put himself on the Major League Soccer radar as a force to be reckoned with, scoring two goals and assisting on a third. Goalkeeper Kasey Keller made two sterling saves, the only clear shots on goal he faced all night, so effective was Sounders FC's defense. And everyone basked in the din...
Professional soccer’s return engagement in Seattle could hardly have gone better.
Such a smashing success was Sounders FC’s inaugural game following its 3-0 pasting of the New York Red Bulls in front of 32,523 fans, that even coach Sigi Schmid’s expectations of the night were surpassed.
“Surpassed them and exceeded them,” an elated Schmid said after the game.
Forward Fredy Montero put himself on the Major League Soccer radar as a force to be reckoned with, scoring two goals and assisting on a third. Goalkeeper Kasey Keller made two sterling saves, the only clear shots on goal he faced all night, so effective was Sounders FC’s defense. And everyone basked in the din and palpable energy of a buzzing sellout crowd at Qwest Field.
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Thursday night was Seattle’s night to welcome big-time soccer back after 26 years, and the bright-green masses put on a show for a national television audience.
“I liked Seattle a lot already, but now I like it a little more,” Montero said. “I think the people supported us so well.”
There was plenty to cheer about. Sounders FC promised to play attacking soccer long before taking the pitch for its first game, and it attacked. Midfielders Osvaldo Alonso and Sebastien Le Toux teamed up to find an open Montero on the right side, and the 21-year-old from Colombia drove a low ball past New York goalkeeper Danny Cepero 10 minutes, 59 seconds into the match. Montero notched Sounders FC’s first-ever goal, and he celebrated it in style.
Montero, Alonso and defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, the three Latino players on the team dubbed by Spanish-speaking press “The Three Amigos,” launched into a sort of shimmy-and-wiggle number they’d planned before the game called “El Moto” — the motorbike. They got in a line and pumped their arms like an engine.
“We did the motorbike celebration to show that Sounders FC is taking off for the start of great things,” Montero said.
What a start it was, and it only got better. In the 25th minute, Montero floated a pass to midfielder Brad Evans on the wing, who found open space to the goalkeeper’s left. He booted a shot that went between Cepero’s legs for a goal and a 2-0 lead.
That was the score at halftime, and in the second half the Red Bulls got more physical with Montero. Sounders FC’s defense, practically impenetrable in the first half, got help from Keller to preserve the shutout, and Montero capped off the evening with an unassisted goal that saw him stop the ball in front of the defender in the open field, stutter-step with the ball in his control and fire a shot into the net.
Schmid had one last surprise, a nod to the longtime supporters of the United Soccer Leagues’ Sounders, many who went hoarse from their cheers. Just as extra time began after the 90-minute mark, he took Montero out of the game and sent in USL Sounder favorite Roger Levesque in his place.
“I wanted Roger to say that he got in the very first game,” Schmid said. “I told Fredy I wanted him to hear the crowd.”
Schmid had a big hug ready for Montero after he reached the sideline. The crowd roared some more, the noise not unlike that of Seahawks games.
“I told Evans after the game that we have to work on hand signals,” Schmid said. “because, ‘I can’t hear a thing you’re saying.'”
José Miguel Romero: 206-464-2409 or firstname.lastname@example.org
New York 0 0 — 0
Seattle 2 1 — 3
First half — 1, Seattle FC, Montero 1 (Le Toux, Alonso), 12th minute. 2, Seattle FC, Evans 1 (Montero), 25th. Second half — 3, Seattle FC, Montero 2, 75th.
Goalies — New York, Cepero; Seattle FC, Keller.
New York — Total shots: 8 (Juan Pablo Angel 3); shots on goal: 2 (Macoumba Kandji 1, Jorge Rojas 1); fouls: 6 (6 tied with 1); offsides: 3 (Macoumba Kandji 2); corner kicks: 4 (Jorge Rojas 4); saves: 3 (Danny Cepero 3)
Seattle — Total shots: 14 (Sebastien Le Toux 5); shots on goal: 6 (Fredy Montero 2); fouls: 10 (4 tied with 2); offsides: 3 (3 tied with 1); corner kicks: 3 (Sebastien Le Toux 3); saves: 2 (Keller 2)
A — 32,523 (32,523).