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Hot Seattle Sounders put out Chicago Fire

Ljungberg’s return to Seattle rough

Joshua Mayers Seattle Times

SEATTLE – Whatever pregame pleasantries Freddie Ljungberg exchanged with his former Sounders FC teammates were quickly forgotten after the opening whistle.

Making his first return to Seattle since being traded to Chicago last month, Ljungberg was roughed up in a physical match and jeered by the fans on every touch Saturday night. The final insult came on a game-winning header by Sounders FC forward Fredy Montero in the 92nd minute to give the home team a 2-1 win in front of 36,386 fans at Qwest Field.

The result extended Sounders FC’s unbeaten streak against Major League Soccer opponents to seven (5-0-2).

With a quiet second-half closing on a 1-1 draw, Seattle grabbed an unexpected winner in the closing moments when midfielder Nathan Sturgis collected a throw-in from James Riley and swung in a cross to the far post, where a wide-open Montero headed the ball past Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson.

Both teams had pressed for a goal in the second half, but desperation came at a cost of effectiveness with few clear-cut scoring chances in the end. Sounders keeper Kasey Keller had a comfortable save on a Collins John header in the 86th minute. Most of Seattle’s opportunities came on crosses, which rarely found their target.

Instead the majority of the action came in a rough-and-tumble first half, which had 19 combined fouls and three yellow cards issued.

Chicago (6-7-6) took a 1-0 lead in the 28th minute, breaking a Seattle shutout streak of 351 minutes, when midfielder John Thorrington converted a penalty kick.

Sounders FC (9-8-5) responded in the 36th minute, when defender Tyson Wahl tiptoed the sideline to keep the ball inbounds and swung in a cross to Montero, who fired a shot past Johnson.

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