PORTLAND, Ore. — Fredy Montero seems to save some of his best moments for the Cascadia Cup.
The Colombian forward had another one, this time hitting a 57th-minute volley that allowed the Seattle Sounders to pull out a 1-1 tie with the Portland Timbers on Saturday night.
“It’s always good to score goals in those kinds of derbies,” said Montero, who has now scored three goals in four matches against the Sounders’ regional rivals. “Those goals, the people coming from Seattle enjoy them more than me. I’m happy for them and happy for the team.”
Dating back to last year, Montero now has seven goals in eight matches against the Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps, six of which have come on the road. This goal, his 12th of the season, also tied his career high in MLS.
This one may have been the best of the bunch, too. With the score tied 0-0, Sounders goalkeeper Michael Gspurning sent his goal kick toward the Timbers’ box. Montero shielded his defender, let the ball bounce off his chest and, in one quick motion, whipped his hips around and volleyed it just under the crossbar and over the outstretched arms of Timbers goalkeeper Joe Bendik.
GOAL: Montero's nifty turn and volley
“It was a great goal,” Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said. “When he first hit it, I thought it had gone over the goal. Just the individual ability to turn and hit that and volley, it takes a lot of skill.”
It also was good recognition of a rare opportunity, as it came on the first play after Bendik had entered the game for an injured Donovan Ricketts.
“He didn’t have time to warm up,” Montero said. “We just said, 'OK let’s hit the ball and see what happens.'”
Ricketts suffered the injury when he collided with Eddie Johnson, who was diving in for a header on an Andy Rose cross.
“I just tried to make a hard run into the box,” Johnson explained. “I was already celebrating because Andy put in a perfect ball. But [Ricketts] came in and it was too late for me to do anything. I was just trying to be dangerous in the box, that’s been my bread and butter.”
The Sounders were able to test Bendik on two other occasions, but he proved up to the task each time. Pushed on by a capacity crowd, the Timbers were eventually able to find the equalizer, a 78th-minute header from Rodney Wallace.
That took a bit of the air out of what would have been a particularly satisfying day for the Sounders, who also saw Gspurning pick up his first MLS assist.
“It’s good to have the first assist, but it’s just a statistic in this case,” Gspurning said. “It’s not my first thing to do and I would change it to three points if I could do it. I feel a little bit disappointed because we wanted three points.”
Jeremiah Oshan covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com and SB Nation.