A little bit of rest between MLS games did the Sounders little good Saturday.
The expansion Montreal Impact (4-7-3) took advantage of a sluggish Seattle start, a controversial red-card ejection and some weak defense throughout for a 4-1 triumph in the opening of Saputo Stadium, which had plenty of empty seats for what was likely the newcomers’ best game of their first MLS season.
The Sounders (7-4-3) began a tough stretch of seven games in 22 days with a defeat that left them 0-3-2 in their last five MLS games, and ended their 10-game undefeated streak on the road.
They had two wins against a pair of overmatched clubs in U.S. Open play, but lackluster play continued at the MLS level.
“I thought we gave away soft goals tonight,” said Sounders coach Sigi Schmid. “Thats something that we cant do. I think we certainly have to play much better than we played tonight.
“I thought it took us 20 minutes to get into the game. By that point we were already down 1-0. Then we got more of the game.We didnt convert our chances. The red card certainly hurt us at a time it was 2-0.”
The Sounders had not given up more than two goals in a game this season, but found themselves down 2-0 in the 57th minute when defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado was red-carded and ejected. His collision with Collen Warner in pursuit of a free ball may have been a foul, but the red card seemed dubious. Certainly, it was costly.
In the next minute, Montreal capitalized on the Sounders’ manpower shortage. Patrice Bernier, who assisted on Montreal’s first three goals, thwarted a poor attempt by the Sounders to clear the ball and sent it backward to Andrew Wenger, who spun past a defender and had Bryan Meredith alone, beating him easily to the goalie’s left.
The Sounders responded quickly to the 3-0 deficit, scoring in the 60th minute when Fredy Montero slid a short pass in front of the feet of Eddie Johnson. When goalie Donovan Ricketts broke late to th charge, Johnson chipped it over his diving body.
It was the only time the Sounders capitalized on numerous good chances. They had a couple of modest chances late, but it was the Impact who counterpunched. Reserve Lamar Neagle, the former Sounder from Federal Way who was traded with Mike Fucito for Johnson in the off-season, beat Brad Evans and Marc Burch in the 86th minute for a little revenge.
Montreal opened the scoring in the 18th minute with a great fake and pass from Bernier to set up Felipe Martins, whose sliding kick beat a s diving Meredith to the far post.
In 51st minute, Justin Mapp went on a solo jaunt through three confused defenders, who seemed to get in each other’s way. He slid a soft 15-yarder along the ground and under the lunge of Meredith.