Montero's 2 goals give Sounders win over Whitecaps
The Seattle Sounders celebrated a trophy and playoff berth on the same night the Vancouver Whitecaps bid farewell to Empire Field.
Fredy Montero scored two goals in a four-minute span Saturday to lead Seattle to a 3-1 victory over Vancouver in Major League Soccer play.
With the win, Seattle clinched a post-season spot, while Vancouver was officially eliminated from contention. Seattle also clinched the Cascadia Cup title, the competition between the Whitecaps, the Sounders and the Portland Timbers.
A sell-out crowd of 21,000 turned out for the final game at Empire Field before the Whitecaps make the move to Bell Pitch at the newly renovated BC Place.
The travelling Seattle fans were loud and made their presence felt, even after their team fell behind 1-0 in the first half.
"I thought the Sounders fans were great in terms of their support," Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid said. "It's just a great feeling being able to hoist the cup in front of them."
Brad Evans had the other goal for Seattle (15-6-9) on first-half penalty.
"It seemed at least half the stadium was our fans so it was awesome to be able to (win the Cup in front of them)," said Evans.
Camilo Sanvezzo replied for Vancouver (4-15-10).
The Sounders wrapped up the Cascadia Cup title with one game left to be played. Seattle has eight points (2-0-2) from the series, while Portland has four points (1-1-1) and Vancouver has one point (0-2-1). Portland visits Vancouver on Oct. 2.
A great play from Vancouver's Chiumiento helped open the scoring in the 22nd. He took a pass down the right wing from Eric Hassli and then fed it over to Camilo in front. Camilo beat Seattle goalie Kasey Keller to the bottom left corner for his ninth goal of the season and Chiumiento's ninth assist.
"We knew Vancouver was a team that couldn't be underestimated," Evans said. "They don't play like they're in last place. They tried to get us on the ropes early, which they did. But after the (opening goal) we sorted some things out and had lots of chances before the half."
The Sounders tied the game 11 minutes later. With Vancouver 'keeper Joe Cannon out of position, Jay DeMerit came across to block the shot by Alvaro Fernandez with his hand. Evans beat Cannon low to the right side on the ensuing penalty for his fifth goal of the season.
"It was an important goal," said Evans. "I just stuck with the way that I always go and was fortunate enough for it to go to the back of the net."
Montero intercepted a clearing attempt and his quick, left-footed volley found the top left corner in the 63rd to give Seattle a 2-1 lead.
"Goal scorers get streaky," Schmid said. "He's been good the last six or seven games. He's come through for us a lot of times. He's a special player."
Four minutes later Montero took a pass from Evans and fired a right-footed shot to the top right corner over the outstretched fingers of Cannon to make it 3-1.
"On the second one, I had a little luck," said Montero of the shot that deflected off a defender on the way in.
Keller made one more tough stop in the 72nd off Salinas at the right side of the net, maintaining the two-goal cushion for the visitors.
"He's clingy," said Schmid of Keller. "He holds onto a lot of balls that other goalies let go for rebounds. He was great for us tonight."
Added Evans: "He's a goalkeeper that yells at us and screams at us but we want nobody else behind us. When the game asks for that one or two saves to keep us in it he's come up huge on so many occations."
The Whitecaps play four of their final five games at home. They have won all four of their games on home turf this season.
The Sounders play a CONCACAF Champions League game against Comunicaciones on Tuesday. Seattle's next MLS match is on the road versus the New England Revolution on Oct. 1.