PORTLAND, Ore. — Fredy Montero may be waking from his slumber.
Seattle’s Designated Player got back on track on Sunday against Portland with two goals in an exciting 3-2 Seattle victory at JELD-WEN Field. In the process, the player sporting a new “rat tail” haircut signaled a possible return to form after only scoring once in his previous nine matches.
“For me, it was amazing,” Montero said after the game. “I feel really happy that I scored twice.”
WATCH: FULL MATCH HIGHLIGHTS
In a back-and-forth battle, the timing of Montero’s goals was crucial for Seattle. Head coach Sigi Schmid was especially pleased with the way Montero and the team responded after each of Portland’s two goals.
Seattle equalized through Montero in the 57th minute, just 11 minutes after giving up the game’s opening goal. When Portland pushed the lead to 2-1 in the 69th, Montero again rescued the Sounders with a goal five minutes later.
“Being able to come back right away and score [so quickly] both times was what really made the game easier for us,” Schmid said.
Montero’s heroics made possible the winning goal from Osvaldo Alonso, which was set up by a strong run behind the defense from substitute Lamar Neagle. The Colombian had a chance to make it three with an unmarked header, but Troy Perkins made a diving save in the late going.
To come within a few inches of scoring a hat trick was a welcome surprise for Montero, who had been slumping lately.
“When you haven’t scored in the last game, you’re thinking you’ll score just one,” Montero said. “Now I scored two, I am happy. Next game I will [try to] score three goals. I’m looking forward [to that].”
Not even the chants of Portland’s supporters could distract Montero, who received a fair amount of grief from the home fans.
“All the game, all the game I hear what they said, but my job is to play for Seattle Sounders,” Montero said. “I have many fans to support me and be behind me. I feel really happy in this team and am proud to play here.”
In all, Montero finished with eight shots and five shots on goal, giving him the lead league in both categories. With the opportunities coming again, it’s likely that the goals will follow, especially with Montero becoming more dangerous in set-piece situations.
WATCH: Montero scores off free kick
Schmid complimented Fredy on his first goal off a free kick, his second of the season after scoring in the late going at Toronto last month.
“Fredy this year has been putting in extra work on the free kicks and as a result he’s gotten two good free kicks for us in the past four to five games,” Schmid said. “That’s because of all the extra work he’s done. When you do extra work, you get rewarded.”
Andrew Winner covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewWinnerMLS