If you were excited about the possibilities of an attack featuring Fred Montero, Mauro Rosales, Eddie Johnson and Christian Tiffert before Saturday's game, you are probably about to explode with excitement now. Sure, Montero scored his first MLS hat trick, but even beyond that the Sounders had what has to be their most efficient offensive performance in their history which resulted in a 6-2 win over Chivas USA
Fueled by those four players, the Sounders turned 12 shots into six goals. With those four on the field together, the Sounders have now scored seven goals in about 120 minutes. To say they are a potent combination is a woeful understatement.
The star was undeniably Montero, who suddenly has 11 goals with nine games left to play. He's scored in each of his past four games and now has seven goals in his past six to move into a tie with Eddie Johnson for the team lead. On each of his goals, Montero made a slick run into the box and took nice feeds from Rosales, who picked up three assists and now has a league-leading 13 on the season.
While Johnson probably had his quietest game in awhile, he was still effective in occupying space and defenders that allowed Montero and Rosales to work their magic. Similarly, Tiffert did not have a huge game statistically, but he was 41-for-48 passing, picked up his first MLS assist -- to Sammy Ochoa -- and once again gave the Sounders the sort of deep-lying playmaker that they've never really had.
The surprise of the day, even to those of us who are big supporters, was the play of Brad Evans. Playing on the left where we've rarely seen him, he overcame a miscue early on to have another very solid performance on the wing. His goal was the first he's scored in a league game since the season opener and he had key passes on each of Montero's first two goals.
It should be noted that the defense probably had its worst performance since the loss at Montreal and arguably the worst of the season. Despite only conceding one goal from the run of play, the defense yielded far too many opportunities. A more clinical team easily could have scored three or four more goals on those 21 shots. As it was, Michael Gspurning was forced into a season-high five saves and five more "punches." I don't think it's a huge cause for concern as it appears to be an anomalous performance, but crazy tiebreakers or not, the Sounders need to play better defense.
SEA - Brad Evans (Fredy Montero, Eddie Johnson) 10'
SEA - Fredy Montero (Mauro Rosales, Brad Evans) 27'
SEA - Fredy Montero (Mauro Rosales) 34'
CHV - Juan Agudelo (PK) 38'
CHV - Miller Bolanos (Tristan Bowen) 64'
SEA - Fredy Montero (Mauro Rosales) 67'
SEA - Sammy Ochoa (Christian Tiffert) 82'
SEA - Own goal 90+1'
Seattle Sounders FC - Michael Gspurning, Adam Johansson, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez, Mauro Rosales (Mario Martinez 78), Osvaldo Alonso, Christian Tiffert (Steve Zakuani 83), Brad Evans, Fredy Montero, Eddie Johnson (Sammy Ochoa 73).
Substitutes Not Used: Josh Ford, Zach Scott, Marc Burch, Alex Caskey.
TOTAL SHOTS: 12; SHOTS ON GOAL: 7; FOULS: 17; OFFSIDE: 5; CORNER KICKS: 1; SAVES: 5.
Chivas USA - Dan Kennedy, James Riley, Bobby Burling, John Valencia, Ante Jazic, Shalrie Joseph, Nick LaBrocca, Tristan Bowen (Jose Correa 69), Miller Bolanos, Juan Agudelo, Casey Townsend (Juan Pablo Angel 86).
Substitutes Not Used: Alejandro Moreno, Jorge Villafana, Ben Zemanski, Danny Califf, Tim Melia.
TOTAL SHOTS: 21; SHOTS ON GOAL: 8; FOULS: 14; OFFSIDE: 1; CORNER KICKS: 6; SAVES: 2.
SEA - Osvaldo Alonso (caution) 54'
CHV - Miller Bolanos (caution) 90+1'
Referee: Jose Carlos Rivero
Referee's Assistants: Ian Anderson, Fabio Tovar
4th Official: Baldomero Toledo
Time of Game: 1:54
Weather: Sunny and 73 degrees
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial
SEATTLE SOUNDERS QUOTES
SEATTLE SOUNDERS HEAD COACH - SIGI SCHMID
Thoughts on the match: "We knew it was going to be a strange game just because of where they are at on the standings. We knew that we would have to take some risks and go forward, and one thing we talked about was the desire to go forward, we knew it was going to present us opportunities, which it did. We were very fortunate that they didn't get more goals, we made some desperation saves. I thought that Michael [Gspurning] came up with a couple of good reactions on crosses on clearing them."
On Fredy Montero: "He's playing well, I think the one goal that he made where he played the ball to Mauro, he got the ball back and just chipped it over Kennedy as he was coming out, I thought that was a quality goal, a quality finish. He's very sharp right now and very confident and obviously that's a good thing for our team."
On Chivas USA's offense: "It's the first time Chivas has played in a true 4-4-2, they really haven't played in a true 4-4-2 in a while, that caused us a little bit of surprise. Their forwards are young, they were busy, and they were active. Our guys didn't know that much about them and maybe weren't as mentally prepared as they should have been for them."
On Seattle Sounders' midfield: "It was good offensively, I thought their movement was good and popping up in different places was good. Defensively when we lost the ball we had way too many guys standing there. There were times when Chivas was attacking us seven against five or seven against six and we had four guys standing up front. It was a matter of getting back and recovering. The place changing is something that we encourage, we allow them to do that, and the key to doing that and making that work is you have to keep the ball."
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FORWARD - FREDY MONTERO
Thoughts on the ability of the team's midfield: "They are all really good with the ball, and obviously they are players who can defend. We are going to use that for the team because we need to go forward but at the same time we need to be compact in the back to keep the result."
Thoughts on goal opportunities: "[Chivas USA] was going forward and left a space behind the defense. We tried to use those, and it was good for us to come in those spaces to score the first goal. After that we saw that we could use that again to keep scoring more goals."
Thoughts on the teams performance: "I'm just happy to keep it up. We know that it is not the end; we have nine more games where we have to make as many plays as we can. We have a really good team, we have players who are ready for the opportunity to come in and perform well."
SEATTLE SOUNDERS DEFENDER - MAURO ROSALES
On his team's performance: "I think we did great offensively, and making many situations for goals. For the strikers, they were very effective and very calm with the ball. Almost every time that we could make a good pass or a good pass through to them, they did very well and we are very happy that the production of the team was very good. We are very happy about how the game finished."
Thoughts on his position: "We have the freedom with Chris [Tiffert] to change every time, when we think the game is going to work out. When we see the space we try to occupy the space. We are trying to keep the ball, it's a good thing to not have to defend. If we keep the ball, and keep possession it's something that we have to work on."
On the teams confidence: "We have other guys that are fresh and they want to play also, and we have a team that we can play down in Trinidad and back in Dallas, and we are all trying to do our best. We want to keep this mentality and the whole team has to be in a high mentality. The guys that didn't play today have to know that they will have their chance in the same level. Every day we work together, we have enough players to face the other teams."
CHIVAS USA QUOTES
CHIVAS USA HEAD COACH - ROBIN FRASER:
Thoughts of the game: "The attacking side was really, really good tonight. I thought we created a ton of opportunities, we could of scored a number of goals. The defending group did not play very well, a lot of individual mistakes or collectively not dealing with counter attacks well enough, but that's what happens when you play against a good team, you give them opportunities and they are going to score goals. The other side of that is we were extremely dynamic on the attacking end and created a number of chances. This game could have ended a lot to a lot. Obviously disappointed how we defended and pleased with the attacking group."
Thoughts on the six goals: "You look at how the game went and how we played going forward. It was the best attacking night we have had certainly all year, coming out of that I don't know if you would call it an embarrassment. Anytime you give up six goals or six goals at home is not what you are certainly looking for. I keep referencing the attacking side and how good I think it was, just defensively we were extremely poor."
On Tristan Bowen's performance: "Tristan was good, he had a good night -very, very attack-minded, running at the defender all night long. He had a good showing and it's only the second game in a long time and he is going to get better week in and week out if he continues to play with that confidence. Tristan has matured a lot in the last year and his time away with the Belgium team. He has come back with a renewed vigor. He is a good story of someone who has worked well in the reserves games and as a result has gotten the opportunity with the first team. He obviously did well last week and he earned a start tonight and did well with it. He certainly was a bright spot tonight."
CHIVAS USA FORWARD - TRISTAN BOWEN
Thoughts on the match: "It was a tough game; I think we made some strides offensively in creating more chances and actually putting more than one goal in the net. We were soft defensively and gave up too many easy goals, it was tough. We took one step forward and almost two steps back."
On the several goal opportunities for Chivas USA: "The team as a whole is moving forward in terms of offensive movement and being more aggressive, and I think everyone saw that today. We just have to be sharper in front of the goal and have that killer instinct in and around the box. Defensively, as a unit we all need to work harder and make sure we don't give away easy goals and keep ourselves in the game. We had a few moments in the game where we were down by maybe one and we let some easy goals in, so that killed us."
Thoughts on playoffs: "It's still a possibility, it's a lot of work to do but it's not impossible. We are going to move forward as a group and hopefully we'll get in."
CHIVAS USA GOALKEEPER - DAN KENNEDY
Thoughts on the match: "We've had some games where we've been up a lot and haven't necessarily been punished for it. Tonight we faced a hot striker in Fredy Montero and his chances were just golden and he buried them."
On Chivas USA offense: "We were real dynamic, Tristan [Bowen] was real dynamic and buzzing around. We had our opportunities that could have tied them six-to-six. With that being said, the defense was just not good enough and I take responsibility for that too."
Thoughts on playoffs: "We need every game, we've needed every game ever since the SuperClásico and now it's just about pride, it's all about pride. Every week going out there and playing for the team, playing for yourself and giving everything you've got."