VANCOUVER, B.C. — Fredy Montero did it again.
The Colombian scored a 90th minute equalizer to salvage a point for the Seattle Sounders in a 2-2 tie with the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday. It was Montero’s third goal in two career games at Vancouver and the fifth goal he’s scored in his three Cascadia Cup away matches.
“He likes scoring goals all the time,” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said when asked if there was something special about Montero and Cascadia Cup away games. “These games are very emotional games and the home team gets their crowd behind them and sometimes get a little more forward.
“If you leave a little bit of space, Montero can exploit that. I’m happy he got that one today.”
Like his goals against the Whitecaps a year ago, Montero did well to create that space himself as regulation drew to a close with Vancouver holding a 2-1 lead.
Montero was able to control a flick from strike partner Eddie Johnson just outside the penalty area. He cut it back to create some room, took one more touch and fired it between two defenders and inside the near post. Whitecaps goalkeeper Joe Cannon, who had denied Montero with diving saves on three previous second-half chances, was caught flat-footed on this one and was unable to make a play on it.
“I don’t want to say [we were] flat, but goals change games,” Montero said about the difference between the first and second halves. “We got some opportunities early in the second half and it was an opportunity to play better. I don’t want to say we played well, but we got some points.”
Highlights: VAN 2, SEA 2
If not for Montero’s heroics, the Sounders would have likely been kicking themselves after what can arguably be called their worst defensive performance of the year. The Whitecaps largely dominated the first half and easily could have led by 3-0 if not for some poor finishing.
As it was, the home team was forced to settle for a 1-0 halftime lead after Alain Rochat was able to cruise up the left side unmarked a slot a shot past Sounders goalkeeper Bryan Meredith.
The second half was an entirely different story, as the Sounders changed from a two-forward setup to a 4-2-3-1 that featured Johnson as a lone striker and Montero as more of a central attacking midfielder. Andy Rose was also subbed in for Alex Caskey, with the idea that he would play alongside Osvaldo Alonso.
The change paid almost immediate dividends as Johnson was able to get on the end of a Mauro Rosales cross in the 47th minute for the 1-1 tie. It was Johnson’s third goal of the season and the second to come off a Rosales assist.
“It was the first time tonight that I was free,” Johnson said. “It was a well crossed ball. I think we’re starting to develop a little partnership. Whenever the ball gets out wide to Mauro, we know he’s a good passer.”
Jeremiah Oshan covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com and SB Nation.