Echosounders in Toronto, recap: running through the 6 with three points

Seattle Sounders made a detour to Canada for a little weekend getaway and clinched a 2-0 win over Toronto FC. After a frustrating 2-1 home loss to CF Montreal, the win – with a heavily rotated squad – was a nurturing one. Stefan Frei, Jordan Morris, Cristian Roldan and Albert Rusnák were all left at home and given a chance to rest while Stefan Cleveland, Léo Chú, Dylan Teves and Danny Leyva started in their places. Kelyn Rowe was allowed to start on the bench and Jimmy Medranda stepped in at left full-back as the Sounders settled for a 5-4-1 with a boxed midfield.

The Sounders opened the scoring late in the first half through Dylan Teves’ first MLS career 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 shoved the ball forward for Léo Chú to line up, only for Chú to stun Toronto’s Designated Player centre-back Carlos Salcedo and deliver a low cross into the box that Teves completed for the first time.

Toronto really pushed after the opening goal and tried to work their way back into the game. Nine of Toronto’s 13 total shots came after Teves found the net, but for all their best efforts, it was the Sounders who created the better chances, ending the best of them after the hour. Jackson Ragen sprayed the ball wide to Alex Roldan, who cut into the field and found Fredy Montero. Montero dropped the ball back to Nico Lodeiro with his first touch and started his run through the back line. Lodeiro returned the ball and Montero shot it home, only Quentin Westberg could beat it. The Sounders had chances to improve their record but will happily settle for a clean sheet and a two-goal win away. This win puts the team in 4th place in the Western Conference. Seattle returns home on Saturday, July 9 at 1:30 p.m. to host the Portland Timbers.

10′ — Léo Chú steals the ball on Toronto’s defense and drives on goal. He slices the ball back for Danny Leyva who finds Nico Lodeiro but Lodeiro’s shot is high and wide.

22′ — Dylan Teves sends in a cross from the near post for Fredy Montero after Seattle pressure creates another dangerous rally in the Toronto goal, but it’s called a corner.

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

52′ — Alex Roldan sends a great cross into the box, with players pushing the 6-yard box but Salcedo manages to clear it.

54′ — Stefan Cleveland pulls off an excellent kick to ward off Toronto with a dangerous look, then manages to clear the loose ball after a lucky deflection from Nouhou.

60′ — Montero doubles the lead after he and Lodeiro play a clever give-and-go through Toronto’s defense! Since only the goalkeeper can be beaten, Montero finishes calmly. 2-0 sounders

83′ — Ralph Priso takes a curling shot to the far post, but Cleveland dives to the right and catches the ball at full length to thwart any chances of a rebound.

90′ — Reed Baker-Whiting almost opened his account after a strong run to receive a pass down the middle from Nouhou, but the keeper does well to block the shot.

Nico Lodeiro does everything: Seattle Sounders all-action No. 10 Nico Lodeiro played back a line where we usually see him alongside Danny Leyva against Toronto. Not for the first time this season, Lodeiro took a spot just in front of centre-backs and instead of being less prolific or impactful up front, he had his fingerprints in everything the team did. In a short break, Lodeiro spent every 90 minutes covering every inch of grass, leading the team on touches and leading both teams with 14 recoveries while also tackling with extra defensive work. Oh, and he had the assist for the second goal. Lodeiro is a gift and it’s easy to forget how good he is.

This is what a healthy development system looks like: The Sounders matched a game day where 10 of the 18 available players showed up through Sounders Academy or Tacoma Defiance. Six of those players are HomeGrown players, and only Jackson Ragen isn’t a roster mechanic by definition, but he’s just as homegrown as the rest of them. Experienced in the USL Championship and MLS Next Pro, this team did a lot more than just fill in and hope one of the regular starters gets in the clutch. Danny Leyva held the center of midfield while Lodeiro did the Lodeiro stuff. Dylan Teves opened the scoring with his first MLS goal and Josh Atencio, Ethan Dobbelaere and Reed Baker-Whiting came in to end the game and almost helped score a third goal. This is what a healthy development system looks like and this is how you build a first class club.

Fredy Montero is still not finished: I’ll be honest, I wasn’t always thrilled to see Fredy Montero this season. At times I thought what Will Bruin was offering was more in line with how the team and the players around him wanted to play, and I think there were a couple of games where Montero looked a little off. That wasn’t the case tonight. Fredy Montero showed how much quality he still has to offer with his clean passing game, his clever movements and the goal he scored well. But he also offers commitment and defensive work that wasn’t exactly his calling card in his first stint in Seattle. Montero’s pressure and defensive work up front made life much harder for Toronto and while his leading 26 duels were rarely successful – he is credited with winning 32% of his duels – this pressure allowed the players behind him to fight and win more runners-up balls. I wasn’t expecting to get all of that from Montero in what seems like his final hooray, 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. This was Seattle’s 4th win against TFC since.

opinion poll

man of the game

  • 29%

    Freddy Montero

    (125 votes)

  • 8th%

    Stephen Cleveland

    (35 votes)

A total of 428 votes

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