A fair result may be nil-nil. Fair results don't count for one amazing play. Davy Arnaud had one of those. Seattle Sounders FC had none. Montreal set themselves in a defensive posture, created a goal behind brilliant play and held onto win. There was a slight issue with marking on the winning play, but it is one of those moments that requires the tip of the cap.
"The guy made a perfect goal I have to admit. He kicked it perfectly over me," Michael Gspurning noted after the match.
By many of the metrics that projected victory Seattle Sounders FC owned the match. They created more chances, took more shots, owned an enormous passing advantage in the attacking third (~60% to ~48%) and had a roughly equal duels rate. All of that is negated by one magical play, blocked shots (Montreal blocked four to Seattle's one) and ineffective crosses.
"Our quality of crossing wasn’t very good today. We hit too many people with crosses. Every time we were looking to cross the ball, it seemed we hit somebody instead of getting the ball around them or past them," Sigi Schmid noted post match. "Against a team like Montreal that likes to pack the middle, you have to get behind them and you gotta have quality service in behind them, and we didn’t do that often enough."
The Sounders attempted 34 crosses with only 8 reaching their targets. That poor rate puts a roadblock in front of that path to goal. Seattle only attempted three throughballs on the night. Montreal pushed through the middle and was more successful at it.
Still, for a match with such limited personnel (Estrada and Neagle were also unavailable) Sigi's side was very close to full strength. It was mainly in depth that lineup choices suffered. It was a lineup capable of winning that did not.
Let's review the keys.
- Rose and Evans controlling the center - Defensively yes
- Play more throughballs - No
- Use Direct Play as an attack not dump and pray - No
- High pressure late to tire the older legs of Montreal - Decent
Seattle owned the player matchups as well. One moment defined the match, and it did so in a way that will burn in the club's memory as it is a rare opening day loss.
One other note - if you want to throw stuff on the field escort yourself out first. There is no need to embarrass your community with your poor behavior.