EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.--When Seattle Sounders FC visited the New York Red Bulls, Juan Pablo Angel’s first half strike was wiped out by Fredy Montero deep in first half stoppage time.
The draw meant drastically different things to the different clubs.
The Red Bulls came into their home game with the Seattle Sounders on a five game losing streak. For them, the draw means the club has a miserly 10 points and only two wins with half the season gone.
Seattle, on the other hand, is having one of the best inaugural seasons in American sports, both on the field and off. The Sounders have 21 points from 14 games, finding themselves in third place in the Western Conference and they will soon be expanding the seating capacity at Qwest field to meet the extraordinary demand for tickets.
The Sounders played without the services of Freddie Ljungberg, who was nursing a hamstring, and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, who was celebrating the birth of his son with his wife. Hurtado was not the only one who celebrated the birth; after Montero scored he lifted his shirt to reveal "Paulo Hurtado God Bless You." Osvaldo Alonso lined up beside him with "Welcome Into The World 6-19-09" on his undershirt. It was a clear sign of the team chemistry that has helped the expansion club play far above preseason expectations.
Head coach Sigi Schmid felt that his team played well and was satisfied with the outcome of the game and the play of Fredy Montero.
"I was pretty pleased with how we played, especially having to play
three games in a week," said the former Columbus coach. On Montero’s
goal he added, "That was an unbelievable goal. When he strikes a ball
and gets all of a ball, there is not much anybody can do to stop it and
he just ripped it."
However, Osorio also saw Montero's strike as a result of a defensive lapse by rooie Jeremy Hall. "We allowed a very soft goal and then on, it was very difficult."
Hall kept a ball inbounds that was heading out for a goal kick. Montero pounced to score the equalizer.
Jeremy Hall explained that he misheard goalkeeper Danny Cepero and underestimated the proximity of Fredy Montero.
"He didn’t say 'Save it,' but said, 'Leave it,'" explained the former
"I just didn’t think he [Montero] was that close. I tried to clear it
after that, and he slid and stayed with it and put it in."
When asked for his reaction to Hall’s mishap, Osorio was quick with his response.
"I think you have to ask him. We all saw the same play. I thought he was going to let it go. I don’t know, I didn’t ask him why he didn’t let it go," said Osorio.
However, Juan Pablo Angel’s reaction reflected the overall play of the rookie fullback.
"I was very impressed with the way Jeremy reacted to it," said the Red Bulls captain. "He was our best player in the second half and encouraging for the future. Not many players with the few games he has at this level would react the way he reacted."
"He knows that he made a mistake and he’s only going to get better from this."
New York also had to rely on a
defensive mishap to score. When Tyrone Marshall botched a clearance off defensive partner Patrick Ianni, Angel capitalized to nip in and score his fifth goal
of the season.
"When Juan [Pablo Angel] got that, I think most teams get that goal
more than once in a season so I thought O.K.," said Red Bulls head
coach Juan Carlos Osorio. "I thought it was probably worth it because
of the way we approached the game today trying to go forward."
Terence Steed is the New York correspondent for Goal.com
For more on Major League Soccer, visit Goal.com's MLS page