Sounders ran through the Six with three points

by Michael Martinez
Sounders celebrate Fredy Montero scoring

The Seattle Sounders headed to the Great White North to take on Bob Bradley’s Toronto FC. By the end, Schmetz was feeling better than Bob as the Sounders left Toronto with a 2-0 win. This win takes them to the number four spot in the Western Conference. 

Coming off the heels of the Sounders’ 2-1 loss to Montreal, Brian Schmetzer had a decision to make. After playing his starters two games this week, squad rotation was something Schmetzer had to consider seriously. Of course, Schmetzer would admit it; there was also the matter of a particular rivalry match a week from Saturday. It would be nice for some of his starters to get a little rest.

Stefan Frei, Jordan Morris, Cristian Roldan, and Albert Rusnák were all left at home and allowed to rest while Stefan Cleveland, Léo Chú, Dylan Teves, and Danny Leyva started in their places. In addition, Kelyn Rowe was allowed to start on the bench, and Jimmy Medranda stepped in at left wingback as the Sounders opted for a 5-4-1 with a box midfield.

Lineups:

Seattle Sounders: 5-4-1

Toronto FC: 4-4-2

Match Report

Sounders Starting XI

Image via Seattle Sounders FC

The Sounders opened up the scoring late in the first half thanks to Dylan Teves’ first career MLS goal. The play started with a long ball from Stefan Cleveland down the left side to Medranda. Medranda slipped the ball forward for Léo Chú to run onto and hit a low cross into the box that Teves hit the ball the first time.

Toronto started putting on the pressure after the opening goal, looking to work their way back into the game. Nine of Toronto’s 13 total shots came after Teves scored, but for all their effort, the Sounders created better opportunities and finished the best of them at the hour mark. Jackson Ragen sprayed the ball out wide to Alex Roldan, who cut in-field and found Fredy Montero. Montero dropped the ball back to Nico Lodeiro with his first touch and started his run through the backline. Lodeiro returned the ball, and Montero slotted it home. 

With that goal, Fredy is now the first Sounders player to score 74 goals for the club. Absolutely HISTORIC.

Schmetzer took a risk, and it paid off. Schmetzer can reasonably feel like he hit a mini-jackpot, as the win catapulted the Sounders into fourth place, which would be suitable for at least one home playoff game. Breaking out the 3-man backline, the Sounders got the tactics nearly perfect. Aside from a handful of TFC chances, the Sounders controlled the match’s tempo and could have scored another goal or two. Along with the clean sheet, the two-goal margin boosted the Sounders’ goal difference to +7, vital as they look at tiebreakers down the line.

Post Math Thoughts

Montero magic

Fredy Montero has struggled to influence games for most of the season. But with the Sounders significantly depleted, they needed their once-and-current all-time leading scorer to reclaim a bit of that old-time magic. And boy did he deliver against Toronto. Leading the attacking line, Montero gave the Sounders a big-time boost, tracking back to help disrupt the Toronto midfield and holding up the ball to assist in the transition. He was unlucky not to score early in the second half, when his shot hit the underside of the crossbar in the 52nd minute, but got his reward just a few minutes after.

Welcome to MLS, Dylan Teves

With the Sounders dealing with rotation and injuries, it was a rare opportunity for Teves to make another impression. Consider the Sounders duly impressed, as Teves found himself the beneficiary of a bit of individual brilliance from Léo Chú and clinically finished a pass from the Brazilian to open the Sounders scoring. In addition, Teves also became the youngest Sounder to score in their first MLS start since Fredy Montero did it just a bit younger in 2009. Not bad company to keep.

Léo Chú finally finding his footing

Many fans have written off Léo Chú, but they may want to start changing their minds. The young Brazilian has increasingly found himself part of Schmetzer’s rotation and has rewarded the coaches’ trust. Chú has been able to use his speed and skill on the ball to get himself in dangerous positions all day. He easily could have had another assist or two on the day. It’s been tough sledding for Chú as he gets acclimated to MLS and breaks into an established Sounders side. However, things look like an upswing for the lad.

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