Fredy Montero headed in the winning goal in extra time

FINAL: Sounders 2 - 1 Fire

Fredy Montero found himself unmarked at the back post in extra time and headed in the winning goal to give Seattle 2-1 victory over Freddie Ljungberg and the visiting Chicago Fire at Qwest Field on Saturday night.

Montero, who had scored in the first half, now has 10 goals and nine assists on the season. John Thorrington scored a first-half penalty for Chicago.

After a couple stumbles in the CONCACAF Champions League, the Sounders extended their record to 5-0-2 in the past seven MLS games. Incidentally, that streak coincides with the departure of Ljungberg, who was defeated in his first return to Seattle.

When his name was read in pregame introductions, Seattle’s former Designated Player received a mixed reaction. Some fans cheered, some booed and a third group seemed indifferent. There was no mistaking the sentiment the first time Ljungberg touched the ball, however, as the boos cascaded down upon him from the sellout crowd. Every time he touched the ball, the same sound filled Qwest Field.

As for the match itself, it was a hotly contested battle. With the two teams close to each other in the MLS standings, they looked evenly matched in an entertaining—if not chippy—first half.

The Fire pulled ahead in the 28th minute from the penalty spot. Jeff Parke, tracking back to support James Riley, handledPatrick Nyarko’s cross in the penalty area. Referee Ramon Hernandez was right on the play and whistled for the penalty kick, which was put home by Thorrington.

Seattle equalized eight minutes later through Montero.Tyson Wahl, who was playing for the suspended Leo Gonzalez, played an early cross from the left sideline. The Colombian’s first touch may not have been the best, but Montero kept his composure and finished the chance with a low shot to the far post.

The tension in the stadium, which was already high from Ljungberg’s return, started increasing after some rough play from both sides. Nyarko went down holding his head in the penalty area. Seconds later, Collins John pulled down Álvaro Fernández from behind. There were a handful of other rough fouls in an edgy first period.

The second half did not match the feverish pace of the first. Ljungberg faded out of the game as Chicago struggled with possession. When Seattle’s Fernández went down just outside the penalty area after a foul from behing, one got the feeling that Chicago would be pleased with a draw.

In the 83rd minute, Ljungberg’s charging run ended with the former Sounder toppling over Parke. The referee deemed the contact excessive and handed out a yellow card to Ljungberg, who will miss Chicago’s next game vs. the LA Galaxyon Sept. 4 through suspension.

Seattle kept pushing forward, trying to get a final goal before the end of the match. On the play, Nathan Sturgis swung in a bending left-footed cross to Montero, who managed to evade his marker. His downward header sent the sold-out crowd of 36,386 into cheers of joy.

The Sounders face a short turnaround before Wednesday night’s US Open Cup semifinal against Chivas USA. That match will be played at the Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila, Wash.

Scoring Summary:

CHI -- John Thorrington 1 (penalty kick) 28

SEA -- Fredy Montero 9 (Tyson Wahl 1, Patrick Ianni 1) 36

SEA -- Fredy Montero 10 (Nathan Sturgis 1, James Riley 3) 92+

Misconduct Summary:

CHI -- Steven Kinney (caution; Reckless Tackle) 22

SEA -- Fredy Montero (caution; Reckless Foul) 24

SEA -- Blaise Nkufo (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 43

CHI -- Freddie Ljungberg (caution; Reckless Foul) 83

SEA -- Nate Jaqua (caution; Reckless Foul) 90


Chicago Fire -- Sean Johnson, Steven Kinney, C.J. Brown, Gonzalo Segares,Krzysztof Krol, Patrick Nyarko (Calen Carr 86), Logan Pause, John Thorrington,Baggio Husidic, Collins John, Freddie Ljungberg.
Substitutes Not Used: Mike BannerBrian McBrideMarco PappaDeris UmanzorKwame Watson-SiriboeAndrew Dykstra.

Seattle Sounders -- Kasey Keller, James Riley, Jeff Parke, Patrick Ianni, Tyson Wahl, Sanna Nyassi (Steve Zakuani 62), Osvaldo Alonso, Nathan Sturgis, Alvaro Fernandez (Roger Levesque 89), Fredy Montero, Blaise Nkufo (Nate Jaqua 82).
Substitutes Not Used: Tyrone MarshallZach Scott, Mike Seamon, Terry Boss.

Referee: Ramon Hernandez
Referee's Assistants: Corey Rockwell; Paul Scott
4th Official: Landis Wiley
Weather: Clear and 65 degrees
Attendance: 36,386