Ha ha ha. There's no better way to put a skip in your step than to throw a bunch of second- and third-stringers into an away match and get a win anyway. We mostly got tonight's reserve heavy Sounders starting 11 right, but were off on some of the details. Roger Levesque was in the game, but as a right back. David Estrada was in, but as a right mid. The notable exception was Fredy Montero starting up top. It was a bit of a risky decision given the possibility of fatigue or injury affecting Tuesday's US Open Cup final, but it was understandable — without him, Seattle would have precious little scoring threat.
And Montero was a scoring threat indeed. Just after the Revolution took the lead on a Diego Fagundez header (no, really), he took advantage of a Ryan Cochrane mistake to knock one just inside the far post. He scored again through Matt Reis' five-hole on a scrambly play in the box and then was denied a hat trick sealing header by a great Reis diving save.
Montero may still be suffering a bit of a perception holdover from a pretty quiet first half of the season, but nothing says MVP candidate like a player you can add to a reserve team and get a league win on the road. I don't think he'll get any real MVP consideration this late in the season, but his 4 goals in 2 games now puts him tied for 5th in the league, and his 8 assists are matched only by Dwayne DeRosario among goal scoring leaders.
For all the good that Montero provided, there was a lot of bad. Nate Jaqua was wide open for a header on a well weighted Estrada cross — and when I say wide open I mean there wasn't a New England player within 8 yards — and he hit it well wide of frame. Then in the second half he had a wide open net when Matt Reis came out in a scramble and despite again being under no defensive pressure he shanked it over the bar. His quality 2009 year is becoming more and more a distant memory.
The Levesque/Zach Scott right side of defense was overmatched through most of the first half and parts of the second. The Sounders had only bad Revolution finishing to thank for not being down 2 or 3 early goals and being beyond Montero's ability to pull it out. Alvaro Fernandez was totally invisible as an offensive component.
But there were also highlights from the reserves. Servando Carrasco once again showed some promise as a deputy for Osvaldo Alonso in the defensive middle. Estrada had a good game on the right wing. And Levesque settled into a decent job at right back as the game wore on.
Most importantly, Seattle put some cement on their #2 position in the west. I've now got them with a 4% chance to finish third (89% second, 7% first). If Real Salt Lake doesn't a result tonight against LA, that race might already be over, which will free them to make sure the whole team is fit for a playoff run.