By Money Mike
The Seattle Sounders sent their 1,500 traveling fans home happy after deafeating the Vancouver Whitecaps 3-1 in the final game at Empire Field. The final game drew 21,000 people total for the game, and if my memory isn't screwed up with this one, the first goal at Empire Field was scored by Eric Hassli and the last goal was scored by one of our own, Fredy Montero who came away with his second brace of the season and is now sitting at 9 goals to go with his 8 assists. With the win, Seattle re-takes second place in the Western Conference over Real Salt Lake who still have another game in hand between them and the Sounders.
Vancouver got off to a good start in the first half. In the 12th minute, Camilo sent in a low left foot ball into the middle of the area and found Mustapha Jarju making a run into the area. Jarju got a touch on it with the outside of his right boot, but just wide of Kasey Kellers goal. Jarju was signed during the midseason point as Vancouver's second Designated Player. He has still yet to score his first goal for the club, and he came close about 3 or 4 times on my count, but he's looked dangerous all game.
In the 18th minute, Kasey Keller came off his line and punched the ball out of the penalty area off a corner kick and collided with Michael Boxall in the process. The attack wasn't over though, Davide Chiumiento got the ball back into the box and ball somehow fell to Boxall, but he was denied on a one on one opportunity as Keller got down very well and made a huge stop on what was a sure goal.
Four minutes later, the home side broke through. Eric Hassli's no look ball found Davide Chiumiento, who just dodged the offside trap by about an inch before cutting the ball back for Camilo to tap the ball past Keller for the opening goal. There were a couple appeals for offside when the ball was played through to Chiumiento, but he looked even. I think either Jeff Parke or Jhon Kennedy Hurtado who played him onside. Camilo was offside when the ball was played to his teammate and when Chiumiento played the ball back to him, he was still offside. I think I need to look at the FIFA laws of the game because I don't know how Camilo wasn't offside on this part of the play.
Vancouver nearly doubled their advantage in the 25th minute. Former Sounder Peter Vagenas showed his guide by hitting a penetrating ball to send Jarju through on goal but the angle prooved to be too acute for the Gambian striker as he dragged his shot wide of the far post.
That's around the time when the Sounders woke up, and it wasn't long until they came back and equalized. In the 32nd minute, the Sounders launched a counterattack. Fredy Montero, after receiving a pass from Nate Jaqua, took the initial shot on goal that was parried away by Joe Cannon. The ball fell to Alvaro Fernandez who found himself with a clear shot on goal in the 18-yard box. Jay DeMerit slid in to block the shot, but the ball his hands and referee Jair Marrufo pointed to the penalty spot. I was expecting DeMerit to be sent off as well, but he was only shown a yellow card. None the less, Brad Evans who was 2 for 2 on PK's this season and just as he did the first two times, he sent the goalkeeper the wrong way and converted with ease.
In the second half, the Sounders got off to a fast start. Ozzie Alonso hit a low drive that forced a save from Joe Cannon. A minute later, Lamar Neagle hit a thunderus shot from outside the box that cannoned off the crossbar.
Mustapha Jarju came close to opening up his account a couple of times, first getting the ball caught in his feet after finding himself through on goal, then about a minute later he could only manage a weak shot on Keller after a nice piece of buildup play.
In the 63rd minute, it was Fredy Montero stealing the show. The Colombian took advantage of a poor cross from Jay DeMerit before taking a clever touch to fool his marker and floating one into the top left corner. That was one of the best goals I've seen from him in his Sounders career. It was surely the best goal I've seen from him this season. He was not done yet, four minutes later he made the captain look like an idiot again. Montero had a go from well out of the area which took a slight deflection off Jay DeMerit, and the Jabulani ball dipped over Joe Cannon and into the back of the net.
It was nice to see this guy finally make his MLS debut. Sammy Ochoa came on as a substitute for Nate Jaqua and I thought he did very well out there. He nearly got his first for the Rave Green after his header was denied by the post. The Sounders have been denied about 3 or 4 times by the post in this game. He's right now at the point where he's not 100% just yet, but at a point where he can come off the bench for the last 20-30 minutes of the match like he did last night. The fact is, Estudiantes Tecos didn't even give him a chance to show what he could do. And with the poor depth we have up front, with O'Brian White injured and both Nate Jaqua and Pat Noonan sucking ass again, I hope that he is 100% by the start of the playoffs, and the Sounders for sure will have a bye week in the playoffs, which would give them plenty of time.
The Sounders will once again step out of MLS play and into the Champions League. Tuesday night, they head to Guatemala to face Comunicaciones where they can book their place in the Quarterfinal with at least a draw.
Vancouver Whitecaps - Camilo 9 (Davide Chiumiento 9, Eric Hassli 2) 22'
Seattle Sounders FC - Brad Evans 5 (penalty kick) 32'
Seattle Sounders FC - Fredy Montero 8 (unassisted) 64'
Seattle Sounders FC - Fredy Montero 9 (Brad Evans 3, Leonardo Gonzalez 2) 67'
Seattle Sounders FC - Brad Evans (caution; Dissent) 31'
Vancouver Whitecaps - Jay DeMerit (caution; Handball) 32'
Vancouver Whitecaps - Eric Hassli (caution; Unsporting behavior) 70'
Vancouver Whitecaps - Jeff Parke (caution; Unsporting behavior) 77'
Seattle Sounders FC - Kasey Keller; Zach Scott, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leonardo Gonzalez; Alvaro Fernandez (David Estrada 79'), Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Lamar Neagle; Fredy Montero, Nate Jaqua (Sammy Ochoa 66')
Vancouver Whitecaps - Joe Cannon; Jonothan Leathers (Jeb Brovsky 46'), Jay DeMerit, Michael Boxall, Jordan Harvey; Davide Chiumiento, Peter Vagenas, Gershon Koffie, Camilo; Eric Hassli (Long Tan 81'), Mustapha Jarju (Shea Salinas 58')