October 3, 2022

The Seattle Sounders came to Canada for a short weekend and picked up a 2-0 win over Toronto FC. After the frustrating 1-2 home loss to CF Montreal, victory – with a heavily renewed squad – was nourishing. Stefan Frei, Jordan Morris, Cristian Roldan and Albert Rusnák were all left at home and given the opportunity to rest while Stefan Cleveland, Léo Chú, Dylan Teves and Danny Leyva started in their place. Kelyn Rowe was allowed to start on the bench and Jimmy Medranda stepped in at left-back as the Sounders opted for a 5-4-1 with a boxed midfielder.

The Sounders opened the scoring late in the first half thanks to Dylan Teves’ first career MLS goal – scored in his first MLS start, no less. The game started with a long ball from Stefan Cleveland down the left side of the field to Medranda. Medranda slid the ball forward for Léo Chú to run over, at which point Chú emerged Toronto Designated Player centre-back Carlos Salcedo and hit a low cross into the box which Teves finished for the first time .

Toronto really started putting the pressure on after the first goal, looking to get back into the game. Nine of Toronto’s 13 total shots came after Teves scored, but despite their best efforts, it was the Sounders who created the best chances and finished the best on the hour mark. Jackson Ragen sprayed the ball at Alex Roldan, who cut into the field and found Fredy Montero. Montero returned the ball to Nico Lodeiro with his first touch and started his run across the baseline. Lodeiro returned the ball and Montero drove it home with only Quentin Westberg to beat. The Sounders had chances to add to the tally, but will gladly settle for a clean sheet and a two-goal win on the road. This victory places the team in 4th place in the Western Conference. Seattle returns home to host the Portland Timbers on Saturday, July 9 at 1:30 p.m.

ten’ – Léo Chú steals the ball from Toronto’s defensive end and rushes towards the goal. He cuts the ball for Danny Leyva who finds Nico Lodeiro, but Lodeiro’s shot is high and wide.

22′ — Dylan Teves put in a cross for Fredy Montero at the near post after pressure from Seattle created another dangerous turnover in the Toronto side, but he came out for a corner.

39′ — Dylan Teves! Léo Chú beats Carlos Salcedo on the wing and sends a low cross that Teves heads into the wide net on his first MLS start! 1-0 sounders

52′ — Alex Roldan sends a great cross into the box with players pressing into the penalty area, but Salcedo manages to get him cleared.

54′ — Stefan Cleveland makes a great kick save to deny Toronto on a dangerous look, then manages to clean up the loose ball after a lucky deflection from Nouhou.

60′ — Montero doubles the lead after he and Lodeiro play a smart back and forth through the Toronto defense! With only the ‘keeper to beat, Montero finishes calmly. 2-0 sounders

83′ — Ralph Priso takes a curling shot to the far post, but Cleveland dives to his right and grabs the ball deep to deny any chance of a rebound.

90′ — Reed Baker-Whiting nearly opened his account after making a solid run to receive a pass through Nouhou’s midfield, but the keeper did well to block the shot.

Nico Lodeiro does it all: Nico Lodeiro, the No. 10 all-action Seattle Sounders, played a line from where we usually see him alongside Danny Leyva against Toronto. Not for the first time this season, Lodeiro took a place just ahead of centre-backs and instead of being less dangerous for goals or less punchy going forward, he had his fingerprints in everything the team did . During a short rest, Lodeiro spent the 90 minutes covering every inch of grass, leading the team in throw-ins and leading both teams with 14 digs while participating in extra defensive work. Oh, and he had the assist on the second goal. Lodeiro is a gift, and it’s easy to forget how good it is.

This is what a healthy development system looks like: The Sounders have prepared a game day roster in which 10 of the 18 available players have come through Sounders Academy or Tacoma Defiance. Six of those players are local players, and Jackson Ragen isn’t by definition a roster mechanic, but he’s as local as the rest. This team has been seasoned in the USL and MLS Next Pro Championship, and they did a lot more than fill in and hope one of the regular starters would come on. Danny Leyva held down the center of midfield as Lodeiro did things to Lodeiro. Dylan Teves opened the scoring with his first MLS goal, and Josh Atencio, Ethan Dobbelaere and Reed Baker-Whiting came on to close the game and nearly helped score a third goal. This is what a healthy development system looks like, and this is how you build a top club.

Fredy Montero still hasn’t finished: I’ll be honest, I wasn’t always thrilled to see Fredy Montero start this season. At times, I thought what Will Bruin offers was better suited to how the team and the players around him wanted to play, and I think there were a few games where Montero seemed a little off. That was not the case tonight. Fredy Montero has shown how much quality he still has to offer with his crisp passing, smart movement and well-taken goal. But he also offers a commitment and defensive work that was not exactly his calling card during his first stint in Seattle. Montero’s pressure and defensive work up front has made life much more difficult for Toronto, and although his game-leading 26 duels have rarely been successful – he is credited with winning 32% of his duels – this pressure allowed the players behind him to challenge and win more second balls. I didn’t expect to get all of this from Montero in what appears to be his last hurrah, but it’s clear how much it still means to him.

Dylan Teves opens his account.

1,666 — It has been 1,666 days since Toronto FC last beat the Seattle Sounders. It was Seattle’s 4th win against TFC since then.


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