Sigi Schmid keeps pushing all the right buttons.
The Seattle Sounders head coach deployed his ninth different starting lineup in as many games – one that was missing both Fredy Montero and Osvaldo Alonso – and still managed to pick up a franchise record-tying best fifth straight victory.
Montero, who entered the the match as a second-half substitute, scored a pair of goals to lead the Sounders to a 2-0 victory over FC Dallas.
HIGHLIGHTS: DAL 0, SEA 2
“It’s a great feeling coming off the bench,” said Montero, who has three goals and an assist in his past three matches after not registering a point in his first six. “I try to do my best and do what Sigi told me and it was a big surprise for me to score those two goals and get the three points.”
Of all Schmid’s lineup decisions, using Montero as a second-half sub easily paid the biggest dividends. After a somewhat lackluster first half, Montero came on as a replacement for Mauro Rosales, who was making his fourth consecutive start, and immediately injected some life into the Sounders attack.
Montero scored his first goal in the 68th minute when he took a pass from fellow sub Cordell Cato, cut it back to create some space and then beat FC Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman inside the near post. Cato was the 23rd player to see the field for the Sounders this season.
Just three minutes later, Montero doubled the Sounders’ lead with diving header off a deflected Alex Caskey cross.
“It was something we had to do,” Schmid said of the decision to bring Montero off the bench. “We talked about it before the game.
“I mean he’s played a lot of minutes this year as has Mauro recently in this stretch of games.”
The Sounders have now registered three straight shutouts and have allowed just three goals all season. Second-year goalkeeper Bryan Meredith registered his second career shutout and has yet to allow a goal in 225 MLS minutes.
He made five saves and was tested far more than in his previous two appearances. The biggest save of the night came in the 39th minute, when he was able to deflect a Scott Sealy shot off the crossbar.
“It’s been fun,” said Meredith, who was playing in the PDL less than a year ago. “You’ve got to be ready to step in and done the job at any time, which sometimes makes a backup position tough. I was prepared correctly before every game and luckily I’ve been able to extend our win streak.”
Jeremiah Oshan covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com and SB Nation.