Drilling down on: Seattle 6, at Chivas USA 2

fredy montero
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CARSON, Calif. – The defenses took the night off at Home Depot Center, paving the way for an oft-criticized star to temporarily quiet his critics.

Man of the Match: Hey, remember that annual “Fredy Montero is [not getting it done]” meme that popped up again this summer? Now that that has passed, it might be a good time to stop and recognize the guy’s still amongst the best in the league, something he reminded us of on Saturday night.

In a 25-minute span in the middle of the first half, Montero posted two goals and an assist. When he beat Dan Kennedy for Seattle’s fourth goal in the 67th minute, the much-maligned Seattle attacker had his hat trick.

“I play the same in June that I play (all the time),” Montero said post-match when asked about the criticism he faced this summer.

Now up to 11 goals on the year, Montero is only one off his career high, set in 2009 and matched last year.

Packaged for takeaway:

  • Saturday was the first night in team history Chivas USA had given up six goals.
  • With no historical reference for allowing so many goals, the obvious comparison is to the Super Clasico two weeks ago, a performance Robin Fraser labeled an embarrassment. He didn’t go that far on Saturday, preferring to look at the game in two parts. Fraser called the offensive performance one of the team’s best of the season. Obviously, he didn’t have the same praise for his defense.
  • And it wasn’t just Chivas’s defenders that had problems. Go through the game’s 10 defensive players (the backlines and goalkeepers) and you won’t find a good night in the bunch, though two players came close:
    • For 90 minutes, Ante Jazic was fine for Chivas, though that may have been because Seattle’s attack focused their efforts elsewhere. In the 91st, Jazic took a soft cross from Seattle’s left and put it into his own net for the game’s final goal.
    • And before Chivas’s second goal, Michael Gspurning had been having a strong night for the Sounders, but he was slow to get down for a Miller Bolaños shot that should have been stopped.
  • Osvaldo Alonso and Shalrie Joseph, the teams’ defensive midfielders, could also be considered defensive players, though the quality of their performances was as divergent as the score:
    • In addition to being a key cog in Seattle’s build up, Alonso had a great night defensively, providing crucial help to left back Leo Gonzalez after it became apparent the Seattle defender couldn’t handle Tristan Bowen (one of Chivas’s only bright spots).
    • Joseph’s passing was bad, and he did little to prevent Mauro Rosales from setting up above the penalty area and picking out Montero’s runs through the Chivas defense.
  • Almost all of those runs targeted John Valencia (or the area around him). The Chivas right-center half played a part in Seattle’s first five goals.
  • Possibly the most interesting moment of the match came in near the hour mark, when Christian Tiffert came to sidelines to talke to Sigi Schmid. After going back on the field, he switched to the left wing, moving Brad Evans to the middle. Post-match, Schmid said Tiffert had come over with the idea as a way to improve Seattle’s defending. “Who’s going to play on the left,” Schmid asked, only to have Tiffert, who’d gone right much of the night to cover for Rosales, offered to cover the spot. From there, Tiffert recorded his first MLS assist, a cross from Sammy Ochoa’s 80th minute goal.