Sounders FC

Montero goal spares Sounders a loss

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Seattle Sounders FC ended a stretch of three games in eight days Saturday, and Fredy Montero scored in every one of them.

Montero’s goal in the 48th minute pulled the Sounders even in a 1-1 Major League Soccer draw with the New York Red Bulls on Saturday before a crowd of 14,313 at rainy Giants Stadium.

It was Montero’s team-leading seventh goal of the season. He also hit the crossbar on a header in the first half and sent a shot off the near post in the closing minutes.

Seattle dominated most of the way, outshooting the Red Bulls, 16-11 – five of those shots coming from Montero. Seattle also took 11 corner kicks to New York’s one.

“A bittersweet tie, due to all the preparation we put toward this game,” Montero said. “But I’m content because the team little by little is settling in.”

Both goals followed defensive blunders.

New York scored in the 40th minute when Seattle defender Tyrone Marshall tried to clear the ball but drilled it directly into teammate Patrick Ianni.

Juan Pablo Angel, the Red Bulls’ leading scorer, beat goalkeeper Kasey Keller to the loose ball and sent it into the open net.

Seattle answered in first-half stoppage time when Montero stripped New York defender Jeremy Hall with a sliding back-heel tackle, carried the ball into the penalty area and beat goalkeeper Danny Cepero from 12 yards out.

Montero and teammate Osvaldo Alonso celebrated by raising their rave green jerseys to reveal white T-shirts underneath with hand-written messages to teammate Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, who missed the game to attended the birth of his first child, a son born Friday night.

Seattle also played without midfielder Freddie Ljungberg, whose sore hamstring was given a rest as the Sounders concluded their busiest stretch of the season.

“We gave away a goal that we shouldn’t have given away,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “But we were able to get one back; you know, they made a mistake as well. … I also thought we created some good chances at the end.”

The Red Bulls (2-10-4) fell into last place in MLS, even though the draw ended a five-game league and six-game overall losing streak. However, it extended their winless run to 0-5-2.

“I thought we had a good first half except for the last minute. I thought we had the better chances,” said New York coach Juan Carlos Osorio, whose job is thought to be in jeopardy. “Unfortunately, we conceded again. It was a very soft goal and it cost us dearly.”

It was Seattle’s second consecutive draw, following a 3-3 result Wednesday when the Sounders surrendered a two-goal lead at home to D.C. United.

Seattle had begun the week with a 2-1 home win over San Jose.

The latest result brought the Sounders (5-3-7) to the midpoint of their regular season. Their 22 points in the standings are good for third place in the Western Conference and fourth in the league, with the top eight teams making the playoffs.

Schmid won’t have the Sounders back at practice until Wednesday. Their next game comes one week from today when they begin a three-game homestand against Colorado, the team immediately behind Seattle in the MLS Western Conference standings.

The Associated Press and staff writer Don Ruiz contributed to this report.