VANCOUVER, BC – All eyes were on Fredy Montero in the leadup to the Cascadia derby match, and did he deliver in a big way.
The Colombian striker scored two second-half goals against his former side to lead Vancouver Whitecaps FC (2W-3L-1D) to a 2-1 victory over Seattle Sounders FC (1W-2L-3D) in front of a sellout crowd at BC Place on Friday evening.
The Designated Player received support from goalkeeper David Ousted, as well as a number of ‘Caps defenders, who made timely stops against a full-on attack from the visitors.
Sounders FC substitute Will Bruin pulled one back late for Seattle, but it would not be enough on an evening that saw their star striker Clint Dempsey find the woodwork twice, plus his last-gasp equalizer attempt cleared off the line.
Head coach Carl Robinson made five changes to last week’s lineup, and they stood toe-to-toe with the defending MLS Cup champions in a tightly-contested first half.
The opening frame saw the two rivals trading shots, but neither would land the opening blow. Dempsey came closest to finding the net, testing Ousted in the eighth minute with a chip from way out, but hit the crossbar after the ‘Caps goalkeeper got his fingertips on the attempt.
On the opposite end, Alphonso Davies, Christian Bolaños, and Cristian Techera were lively on the Vancouver attack, manufacturing chances but the match remained scoreless heading into intermission.
The game opened up in the second half, with Seattle firing from their biggest weapons. Dempsey and Nicolas Lodeiro found space to shoot from inside the 18-yard box in the 51st and 53rd minutes, respectively. Neither would get past Ousted, who came up with the diving save each time to bring the ‘Caps supporters to their feet.
After the hour-mark, Montero took control of the match. He struck first on 65 minutes, nodding in a Techera cross from the right wing, and beating a full-stretched Stefan Frei in the bottom-left corner.
Fifteen minutes later, Seattle’s all-time leading scorer would burn his old club once again. Bolaños initiated the perfectly-played set piece with a corner kick from the right side, finding Kendall Waston, who redirected the ball to an open Montero. The header inside the right post was Montero’s fourth goal for Whitecaps FC in all competitions.
It was far from over, however, as the match saw a frantic finish. In the 86th minute, Dempsey curled in a left-footed strike from beyond 18 yards but hit the left post. Four minutes later, Bruin cut the ‘Caps lead in half after Russell Teibert cleared an earlier threat off the line, and Lodeiro kept the possession alive with a cross from the right endline. Down to their final chance in the final minute of added time, Dempsey flicked the ball through traffic from close, deflecting it off Ousted and looked to be destined for the net, until Waston preserved the 2-1 win with a crucial goal line stop.
Now riding momentum off their second consecutive home win, Whitecaps FC embark on a month-long road trip, beginning with another Cascadia tilt versus Portland Timbers on Saturday, April 21. Kickoff at Providence Park is at 1 p.m.
Budweiser Man of the Match: Fredy Montero
Referee: Kevin Stott
65′ – VAN – Fredy Montero (Cristian Techera)
80′ – VAN – Fredy Montero (Kendall Waston, Christian Bolaños)
89′ – SEA – Will Bruin (Nicolas Lodeiro)
Possession: Vancouver 38.2% – Seattle 61.8%
Shots: Vancouver 11 – Seattle 15
Shots on Goal: Vancouver 3 – Seattle 7
Saves: Vancouver 5 – Seattle 1
Fouls: Vancouver 13 – Seattle 10
Offsides: Vancouver 3 – Seattle 2
Corners: Vancouver 2 – Seattle 10
27′ – VAN – Sheanon Williams
37′ – SEA – Nicolas Lodeiro
44′ – SEA – Harry Shipp
53′ – VAN – Fredy Montero
90’+3′ – VAN – Tim Parker
Vancouver Whitecaps FC
1.David Ousted; 25.Sheanon Williams, 4.Kendall Waston ©, 26.Tim Parker, 2.Jordan Harvey; 15.Matías Laba, 31.Russell Teibert; 67.Alphonso Davies (11.Nicolás Mezquida 76′), 7.Christian Bolaños, 13.Cristian Techera (77.Mauro Rosales 86′); 12.Fredy Montero
Substitutes not used
70.Paolo Tornaghi, 8.Andrew Jacobson, 16.Tony Tchani, 17.Marcel de Jong, 47.Kyle Greig
Seattle Sounders FC
24.Stefan Frei, 91.Oniel Fisher (23.Henry Wingo 78′), 4.Gustav Svensson, 14.Chad Marshall, 33.Joevin Jones; 6.Osvaldo Alonso ©, 7.Cristian Roldan; 10.Nicolas Lodeiro, 2.Clint Dempsey, 19.Harry Shipp (17.Will Bruin 68′); 13.Jordan Morris
Substitutes not used
35.Bryan Meredith, 8.Alvaro Fernandez, 12.Seyi Adekoya, 15.Tony Alfaro, 21.Jordy Delem