UPDATE: We've got quotes and stats for you to peruse.
If Fredy Montero isn't careful, he's going to end up hurting the Sounders' newest designated player.
Montero once again nearly took Fernandez's head off during a post-goal celebration after El Flaco scored the second goal in a 2-0 victory over the Houston Dynamo. He performed a similarly dangerous celebration after Fernandez's goal in the CONCACAF Champions League sent the Sounders through to the group stage.
Then again, maybe we should just trust that Fredy knows best these days. Everything the Colombian touches seems to turn out right, as he extended his consecutive points streak to nine MLS contests after scoring the go-ahead goal and assisting on Fernandez's strike. The nine-match streak with either a goal or assist is the longest in MLS this season.
Montero's form has played no small part in the Sounders' recent run of success.
The victory is the fourth straight in MLS play and runs the Sounders' unbeaten streak to five MLS matches and eight overall. The Sounders (28 points in 20 matches) now sit in a tie for fifth overall. The victory also puts the Sounders back in control of their own destiny as it gives them a PPM of 1.4 which is the eighth best figure in MLS and only .04 behind No. 7 Toronto and .10 behind No. 6 Colorado.
The recent run has come mostly against Western Conference opponents, as well. Only the victory over DC United was against the East.
Once again, the defense played an equal part in the victory. While the first half had its sloppy moments, Kasey Keller registered his seventh clean sheet of the season without having to make a single save. The Dynamo, which have now gone winless in their past nine to essentially fall out of the playoff chase, only managed six shots and rarely had any dangerous opportunities in the second half. Brian Ching was held to one shot and Brad Davis did not have any.
Perhaps knowing that they were outmanned, the Dynamo came out with a physical gameplan. Blaise Nkufo, who had some moments and nearly scored his first Sounders goal, was constantly knocked to the ground. Sanna Nyassi once again found himself in the middle of several altercations.
The physical play of the night, though, belonged to Montero. On his goal, Montero took a pass from Keller at the edge of the penalty area, fought off defender Eddie Robinson, chested the ball to his feet, spun around and fired the ball inside the far post. Keller said it was the first assist he's had since a friendly against Germany.
The second goal was more skill and speed. On that one, Montero took a pass from Nate Jaqua and tapped it ahead to Fernandez, who had beaten the offside trap on the left side. Fernandez's first touch was a bit heavy, but he managed to control the ball and slot it into the far side. Fernandez has now played 57 minutes in a Sounders kit and has scored two goals, giving him a PP90 of 6.32.
As Graham pointed out in the GameThread comments, it might be doing a bit of a disservice to say the Sounders are hot right now. While the 13 points in five matches are certainly unsustainable (right?), the Sounders are playing at a level that befits one of the most talented sides in MLS. To think that Nkufo and Fernandez are still not fully match fit and that their best central defender is still out with injury, it's actually not hard to imagine this team may be better late in the season than it is now.
Goals by Period 1 2 Tot Houston Dynamo 0 0 0 Seattle Sounders 0 2 2 Scoring Summary: SEA -- Fredy Montero 8 (Kasey Keller 1) 64 SEA -- Alvaro Fernandez 1 (Fredy Montero 9, Nate Jaqua 1) 88 Houston Dynamo -- Tally Hall, Eddie Robinson, Bobby Boswell, Andrew Hainault, Mike Chabala, Corey Ashe (Brian Mullan 58), Danny Cruz (Dominic Oduro 76), Richard Mulrooney, Brad Davis (Geoff Cameron 58), Joseph Ngwenya, Brian Ching. Misconduct Summary: SEA -- Sanna Nyassi (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 28 SEA -- James Riley (caution; Reckless Foul) 32 SEA -- Blaise Nkufo (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 50 HOU -- Brian Mullan (caution; Reckless Tackle) 59 HOU -- Mike Chabala (caution; Reckless Foul) 59 SEA -- Nathan Sturgis (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 70 Referee: Michael Kennedy Referee's Assistants: -Chris Strickland; Jeff Hosking 4th Official: Alejandro Mariscal Attendance: 36,111 Time of Game: 1:50 Weather: Partly Cloudy-and-67-degrees
Substitutes Not Used: Francisco Navas Cobo, Anthony Obodai, Cam Weaver, Tyler Deric.
TOTAL SHOTS: 6 (6 tied with 1); SHOTS ON GOAL: 0; FOULS: 13 (Brad Davis 3, Joseph Ngwenya 3); OFFSIDES: 6 (Danny Cruz 2); CORNER KICKS: 5 (Richard Mulrooney 3); SAVES: 7 (Tally Hall 7)
Seattle Sounders -- Kasey Keller, James Riley, Patrick Ianni, Jeff Parke, Leo Gonzalez, Sanna Nyassi (Mike Seamon 85), Osvaldo Alonso, Nathan Sturgis, Steve Zakuani (Alvaro Fernandez 69), Fredy Montero, Blaise Nkufo (Nate Jaqua 87).
Substitutes Not Used: Roger Levesque, Tyrone Marshall, Zach Scott, Terry Boss.
TOTAL SHOTS: 14 (Osvaldo Alonso 5); SHOTS ON GOAL: 9 (Osvaldo Alonso 2, Fredy Montero 2); FOULS: 13 (Nathan Sturgis 4); OFFSIDES: 1 (Sanna Nyassi 1); CORNER KICKS: 10 (Nathan Sturgis 7); SAVES: 0
Goals by Period
SEA -- Fredy Montero 8 (Kasey Keller 1) 64
SEA -- Alvaro Fernandez 1 (Fredy Montero 9, Nate Jaqua 1) 88
Houston Dynamo -- Tally Hall, Eddie Robinson, Bobby Boswell, Andrew Hainault, Mike Chabala, Corey Ashe (Brian Mullan 58), Danny Cruz (Dominic Oduro 76), Richard Mulrooney, Brad Davis (Geoff Cameron 58), Joseph Ngwenya, Brian Ching.
SEA -- Sanna Nyassi (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 28
SEA -- James Riley (caution; Reckless Foul) 32
SEA -- Blaise Nkufo (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 50
HOU -- Brian Mullan (caution; Reckless Tackle) 59
HOU -- Mike Chabala (caution; Reckless Foul) 59
SEA -- Nathan Sturgis (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 70
Referee: Michael Kennedy
Referee's Assistants: -Chris Strickland; Jeff Hosking
4th Official: Alejandro Mariscal
Time of Game: 1:50
Weather: Partly Cloudy-and-67-degrees
All Statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial
Seattle Sounders FC vs. Houston Dynamo - August 8, 2010
Sigi Schmid - Sounders FC Head Coach
(General comments . . .) "We're happy with the win. Something that we've been talking about is getting to .500. We've also been talking a lot about making our home games our home games again and making sure that we win at home. Today was a good result, especially against Houston. Last year and in the past when we've played teams that are more physical or robust are teams that have given us a hard time. We were able to match that and came out ahead at the end of the day, so I was very pleased."
(On Fredy Montero and Alvaro Fernandez . . .) "On the goal he [Fredy Montero] did a great job because he was able to post the guy up and hold him off, shield the ball and then hit a great shot. And on the ball he [Montero] slipped through to Flaco [Alvaro Fernandez] was great. He made a good run and then his composure showed because he mistouched it on his first touch, but he was able to recover and his composure on the finish was very good. Being able to finish plays is something that allows you to win games and he's done it twice for us now in the past two games."
(On player combinations . . .) "Defensively, [Jeff] Parke and [Patrick] Ianni played really well together in the middle, not to discount our outside backs. I thought they played well also. [Nathan] Sturgis and [Osvaldo] Alonso have formed a pretty good partnership in the middle of the field that has allowed our wide guys to get sprung forward. We're working hard. When you look at the game, there's a lot of shots we blocked, which means guys are really sacrificing themselves. Offensively, we're getting in behind. I'd still like to see us finish chances a little better. Sanna [Nyassi] got in behind a couple times in the first half where I thought we were going to get something out of it. We have to read the runs that [Blaise] Nkufo makes because he was in a couple times, but we found him a lot more often today. I think it's starting to gel together. We have a little time to practice this week and want to go down to Chivas [USA] and get ourselves another result."
(On strength on the ball...) "Strength on the ball has nothing do with size. It's about body position. It's how you're able to technically control the ball as it comes to you. Those are the things that are important, but it's really your body position. You look at a guy like Guillermo [Barros] Schelotto who is very strong on the ball, but he's not a big guy and Montero is the same. He knows how to get his body positioned well."
(On Blaise Nkufo . . .) "I told him that tonight was going to be a physical night. He was going against two guys who are certainly very aggressive and would play him very tight. He's not a flopper, so obviously he felt he got taken down a few times. Michael Kennedy saw it one way, the referee saw it one way, we probably saw it a different way. I told him that we both probably needed to watch the game again and then we could talk."
(On offense from Alvaro Fernandez . . .) "That's what we felt he could give us. When he was playing in Chile he played as an attacking wide right guy. He's played on the left and he can also play in the middle of the midfield. He's definitely someone who can get forward and attack. There were a couple of other times he was almost in as well. He's not a guy who's going to dribble at you the way that Zakuani does, but he's going to one-two around you and he has great speed. He has more speed than people realize because he's very fluid in his running style."
(On player additions adding physicality to team...) "It certainly helped us. His ability to occupy a defender and be strong on the ball and bring the other players into the game is important. It's something that Jaqua gave us last year early in the year.
Fredy Montero - Sounders FC Forward
(On scoring goals...) "For sure in Colombia, I won the title of top scorer twice in 2007 and 2008 and I'd like to be on that path again playing here."
(On his goal today...) "The merit goes to Kasey Keller for the pass."
(On team getting better...) "This is definitely the highest level that the team has had. I'm proud to share the field with my teammates. We're going to keep building and be able to match up with every team out there."
(On having seven Hispanic players helping chances in CONCACAF...) "In the locker room there are no nationalities. It's working out well. For those who get to go, it's pride to defend the shield of the Sounders."
(On missing Freddy Ljungberg...) "He's a very important player and he has a lot of experience, but now we're scoring goals and that's what was missing, so that's what is important."
Alvaro Fernandez - Sounders FC Midfielder
(On goal...) "I'm very happy on the personal level as well as for the team. It's good to win at home."
(On MLS...) "This is a hard league. The teams are very even, so it makes it very interesting to play."
(On preferred position to play...) "I can play on the left. I can play on the right. So long as I'm a midfielder, I can play wherever the coach needs me."
Kasey Keller - Sounders FC Goalkeeper
(On the win . . .) "It's so nice going into that last minute with that two-goal lead. That was tremendous. I'm proud of everybody. The fans, once again, were tremendous. What can you say? We are on that run we were hoping to get started and long may it last."
(On recording an assist . . .) "It was my first one. My last one was actually in a friendly against Germany, so it was nice to get another one. It's been a while."
(On Fredy Montero . . .) "Fredy is on fire. He's working extremely hard. He is doing some great stuff. If he keeps up in that form, he can very easily become leading goal scorer. What I like so much about his game right now is that he has got a ton of assists as well. He is really turning into a complete player and I'm proud of him."
Dominic Kinnear - Dynamo Head Coach
(On any positive's coming after the match...) "No."
(On the least negative moment of the match...) "The first goal. I saw a long ball from the back that we did not deal with and they scored. It was a winnable ball. We didn't deal with it."
(On anything that will turn this season around...) "A win, simple of that. A hard thing to do, but an easy thing to talk about. We need a win."
(On the physical nature of this match...) "Nothing more than previous matches. I think they have always been pretty physical. I think it was a pretty normal match between these two teams."
Tally Hall - Dynamo Goalkeeper
(On his view of the first goal scored by Fredy Montero...) "He was battling with Eddie [Robinson] and it was a bad turn. He is a crafty player, a good player and he got a turn inside. The shot was low and in the corner, a difficult place to make the save. It is difficult for us because we were looking for a win coming out of this game."
(On Alvaro Fernandez break away goal...) "We were throwing as many numbers as we could to equalize and he comes up. I was able to get something on it but that wasn't enough. We are two more in the hole than the start of the game; it's difficult to come back from a deficit like that."