By Money Mike
The Seattle Sounders came out on top yet again and are now just one point back of Real Salt Lake first place in the Western Conference. Led by two second half goals from Fredy Montero, the Sounders came away with their fifth straight win as they defeated FC Dallas 2-0 to extend their record to 7-1-1 (22 points). Speaking of Real Salt Lake, the Sounders return home this Saturday to face RSL in a huge Western Conference matchup. Remember last year, these two teams met in the MLS Cup quarterfinal and just like the first two seasons, the Sounders couldn't get past the quarterfinal round. They lost the first leg 3-0 and in the second leg, they did very well to rally back but not good enough as they lost 3-2 on aggregate. The Sounders have a shot at payback as they battle RSL this Saturday in a battle for first place in the Western Conference.
In the first half, FC Dallas looked like the better side and they nearly broke loose after a few big chances. In the seventh minute, Fabian Castillo used his speed to get past Zach Scott to the endline and he decided to go for goal from an impossible angle and he hit side netting. That was a little selfish from Castillo because he had Jackson and Scott Sealy in support and also had Jair Benitez trailing on the play. Castillo is an exciting young player but as exciting as he is, he tends to hog the ball rather than pass to his teammates like in this match where he did that quite a few times. I think this is where he'll get better in years to come.
In the 17th minute, the Sounders should've had a goal. After Dallas got caught on the counter attack, Eddie Johnson played the ball out wide to Andy Rose who squared it across for Mauro Rosales who's shot was right at Kevin Hartman. Rosales then followed up and hit the post before FC Dallas could clear the ball out of danger. I really do not understand how Dallas survived that. In reality, those chances go in almost 99.99% of the time. FC Dallas got lucky there.
In the 39th minute, the Sounders were lucky not to find themselves a goal down. Fabian Castillo, who has given Zach Scott all kinds of problems in this game, sent in a cross towards Andrew Jacobson who headed the ball back across for an unmarked Scott Sealy who directed his header towards goal and Bryan Meredith got up well and deflected the shot off the crossbar. Sealy had a chance at a rebound, but he spilled it and Meredith pounced on the ball. Not only was Zach Scott tested in this match, left back Marc Burch had a tough go against Jackson. There was one play where Burch dragged Jackson to the ground because if he hadn't, Jackson would've been clear of the defense and more than likely would've given Dallas the lead but Burch dragged him down and picked up a yellow card.
With just over 20 minutes to go, the Sounders broke the deadlock. Cordell Cato brushed Hernan Pertuz aside and sent in a low cross for Fredy Montero. Montero then beat two defenders and ripped his shot past Kevin Hartman and in at the near post. Three minutes later, Montero wasn't done. Alex Caskey sent in a low cross and the ball deflected to Montero for a diving header to double Seattle's advantage and cap off their fifth straight win.
Bryan Meredith picked up his second consecutive clean sheet since taking over for the injured Michael Gspurning who could make his return next Saturday for Seattle's Cascadia Derby match against the Vancouver Whitecaps at BC Place. He was kept busy all match as the defense looked like they were not on the same page a few times in this game but Bryan Meredith has done a terrific job between the pipes and that should really boost his confidence for Saturdays match against Real Salt Lake. So far, Meredith has gone 225 minutes without conciding a goal and will have to continue doing that for at least 90 more minutes.
Cordell Cato came on with 25 minutes to go in the game and I thought he did very well on his debut. Hopefully we see out there quite a bit this season. He has a ton of potential and he did show a bit of that last night. During the offseason when he was interviewed on soundersfc.com, he said this is his only year with the Sounders, but I think he's going to stay here in Seattle for a while. With what he's shown, I don't see why Cato doesn't deserve a spot on this team in the future.
Another great performance by the Sounders and with a big match coming up against a team that knocked them out of the playoffs last season, they got to feel hungry for revenge. Hopefully the Sounders can pull it off against Real Salt Lake and not only picked up their sixth straight win, but take over first place in the Western Conference.
Seattle Sounders FC - Fredy Montero 2 (Cordell Cato 1) 68'
Seattle Sounders FC - Fredy Montero 3 (Alex Caskey 2) 71'
Seattle Sounders FC - Marc Burch (caution; foul) 30'
Seattle Sounders FC - Jeff Parke (caution; foul) 42'
FC Dallas - George John (caution; foul) 57'
Seattle Sounders FC - Zach Scott (caution; foul) 75'
Seattle Sounders FC - Fredy Montero (caution; foul) 81'
Seattle Sounders FC - Bryan Meredith; Zach Scott, Jeff Parke, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Marc Burch; Mauro Rosales (Fredy Montero 46'), Andy Rose, Brad Evans (Servando Carrasco 77'), Alex Caskey; David Estrada (Cordell Cato 66'), Eddie Johnson
FC Dallas - Kevin Hartman; Zach Loyd, George John, Matt Hedges, Hernan Pertuz (Ruben Luna 84'); Jackson, Andrew Jacobson, James Marcelin, Jair Benitez; Fabian Castillo, Scott Sealy (Brek Shea 70')