August 19, 2012 in Sports

Montero comes off bench to spark Sounders

Tim Booth Associated Press

Sounders’ Fredy Montero mimics Mariners’ Felix Hernandez after scoring a goal in 64th minute Saturday.
(Full-size photo)

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SEATTLE – Don’t expect Fredy Montero to suddenly become the constant super-sub who comes off the Seattle Sounders bench, no matter how good he’s been in just that role.

Montero scored in the 64th minute, just 2 minutes after entering, Eddie Johnson added a clinching goal in the 87th minute and the Sounders beat Cascadia rival Vancouver 2-0 on Saturday in a key game for positioning in the MLS Western Conference playoff chase.

The only reason Montero was not in the starting lineup against the Whitecaps was because of his needing to miss practice on Friday to tend to a family matter. With one less day of preparation, Seattle coach Sigi Schmid – who said Montero coming off the bench was not punishment – decided Montero would be better served as a sub.

The result was a critical goal that had eluded the Sounders despite numerous earlier chances. After the goal, Montero even mimicked the celebration of Seattle Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez following his perfect game with both hands in the air and a leg raised off the ground.

“We’re not going to turn him into super-sub or the 12th man of the year or something like that even though he does well when he comes off the bench,” Schmid said. “Goal scorers are streaky a little bit and I always get a special joy when we win a game and there is a Montero goal and a Johnson goal.”

Montero’s goal was his eighth of the season. Mauro Rosales took a free kick from about 35 yards out, but instead of going on net, chipped it into the penalty area. Defender Jeff Parke played the ball off his chest and directed it to Montero, who got just enough of his toe on the shot to bounce it past Vancouver goalkeeper Joe Cannon.

It was Montero’s fifth goal this season as a sub and four have tied the game or given Seattle the lead.

Johnson scored on a counter attack off a cross from Brad Evans in the closing minutes for his 11th goal of the season. It was the fourth time this season that Johnson and Montero – the Sounders’ high-profile strikers – have scored in the same game.

“Fredy’s competitive, I’m competitive. I’m pretty sure one of his goals is to be the leading scorer and it’s one of my goals too,” Johnson said. “So if we’re both trying to get more goals it’s good for the team.”

Seattle moved three points clear of the Whitecaps and Los Angeles and into third place alone in the conference standings. Seattle has played two fewer games than both the Whitecaps and Galaxy.

Vancouver lost for the third time in its last four league matches.

The Whitecaps appeared to pull even in the 81st minute when Darren Mattocks knocked a rebound off Seattle goalkeeper Michael Gspurning into the net, but Jeff Parke was fouled and the goal was waved off.

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