TORONTO — Fredy Montero left the 21,839 at BMO Field going home disappointed and ensured a joyful flight back to Seattle with his 90th-minute goal to seal a victory for the Sounders FC over Toronto FC.
He also gave his father a late birthday present and early Father’s Day gift with a stunning free kick from 28 yards out that twisted around the Toronto wall and into the top right corner of the net for the 1-0 win.
“I have to give this one to my dad,” Montero beamed. “I promised you and I got it for you.”
The game-winning score was somewhat capped a resilient performance by the Sounders, as they went down a man in the 49th minute when Jhon Kennedy Hurtado was issued his second yellow card of the match for a red card ejection. He got his first caution in the 34th minute and the second early in the second half meant the Sounders would shift to a 4-4-1 formation after Zach Scott replaced Lamar Neagle and shifted to the center back role.
“I thought the team showed a lot of resiliency. We battled,” head coach Sigi Schmid said. “We held firm and we ended up getting a great goal from Fredy Montero.”
Even after the red card, Seattle outshot Toronto 4-0 over the next 25 minutes, with Stefan Frei stopping two shots by Brad Evans and another by Osvaldo Alonso to keep the game knotted at zeroes.
Then a flurry from Toronto FC over a six minute span forced Kasey Keller into one of his two saves on the night and his fifth shutout of the season was preserved when Javier Martina charged on a ball that went through to the right side of the box and hammered it into the right post in the 81st minute.
Seattle continued to press forward earning free kicks and corner kicks to set up goal-scoring opportunities throughout the second half until Mauro Rosales - who was deemed the Man of the Match by Schmid — was fouled 28 yards out to set up the free kick that Montero would capitalize on for his third goal of the season.
“At the end of the day, he has an ability to do something special that a lot of people can’t,” Schmid said. “He did that tonight.”
The Sounders got off to a strong start when Mike Fucito found space in the box in the second minute of the match, but his left-footed shot clanged off the far post and away for a goal kick, just missing on his first goal of the season and an opportunity to give the Sounders the lead in the opening moments of the match.
However, that was the lone first-half highlight for the Sounders, who weren’t able to maintain the early pressure. The rest of the first half was simply a territorial battle, with the ball going back-and-forth from one end of the field to the other without many threats on goal.
Keller recorded his only other save in the 22nd minute, easily stopping a header from Maicon Santos.
In the second half, Álvaro Fernández and Erik Friberg entered the match after both suffered injuries in recent weeks.
“I thought in the first half, we didn’t do a good job of holding onto the ball,” Schmid said. “After we got that shot it’s almost like we went back into a shell. With 10 men, we actually played our best soccer of the night.”
The win leaps Seattle into second in the Western Conference at 6-4-7 (25 points) as they reach the halfway point of the season. They are now unbeaten at 2-0-2 in their last four matches after their first win in nine matches in club history when they have been issued a red card. Toronto dropped to 2-6-9 (15 points) on the season and extended their winless streak to eight matches.
The Sounders will host the New York Red Bulls on June 23 and the New England Revolution three days later at Qwest Field.