for this game

Montero lifts Sounders past United 2-1

Sep 13, 2009 - 2:58 AM By KEVIN HILGERS STATS MLS Correspondent

WASHINGTON (STATS) - In a 10-day span, the expansion Seattle Sounders have made a home for themselves on the opposite side of the country.

After wresting away the U.S. Open Cup from D.C. United, the Sounders returned to RFK Stadium to down the hosts again, 2-1 on Saturday night and take the lead in the hotly contested wild-card playoff race.

For the Sounders (9-6-10) to drop United on its home pitch more than once is no small feat as their last league home loss came Oct. 4, 2008 against Chivas USA.

"It's definitely fantastic," said Seattle's James Riley. "They're an absolute quality side. I have a lot of respect for D.C. United in general. To come here and win two games in 10 days is definitely something that we'll take."

After the teams played much of the second half tied, Fredy Montero made the difference with his 11th goal in the 84th minute.

Riley lobbed the ball just inside the box to Montero, who hooked a shot with his right foot to the top right corner of the goal past Josh Wicks.

Steve Zakuani put the Sounders ahead just four minutes into the match but United drew even on Rodney Wallace's goal in the 54th minute.

With five games left, the Sounders are on top of wild-card playoff chase, in which seven clubs separated by just four points are vying for four slots.

United (8-6-12) has four games remaining and fell into a tie with Colorado for the second wild-card spot.

The defeat wasn't what United had in mind in their second match of a five-game home stretch.

"We counted on these home games to be crucial, and we let one slip away," said coach Tom Soehn.

Seattle became the second expansion club in U.S. Open Cup history to win the event when it topped United 2-1 on Sept. 2. That meeting stirred the passions of both teams, with Wicks getting ejected for stepping on a fallen Montero.

Montero downplayed any bad blood that might have grown from the confrontation.

"For me, every game is the same," he said. "I'm not looking for rivals. I just try to score each game, regardless of who we're playing."

Fans appeared to sense a brewing rivalry. They briefly directed a vulgar pregame chant toward the Sounders, but Zakuani sent an abrupt message with his early tally.

His fourth goal of the season came when he caught up with a ball from Peter Vegenas just a few steps ahead of Bryan Namoff at the top left corner of the box. Wicks came out to challenge, but Zakuani beat him with a slow-rolling shot to the right. As he celebrated, he cupped a hand around an ear in a gesture to the crowd.

Neither team posed much of a threat on attack until Wallace revived United with his third goal. He tapped the ball to Luciano Emilio as he crossed into the box, and Emilio flipped it back to him, giving Wallace an opening past sliding Seattle goalkeeper Kasey Keller.

United had prime chances late to go ahead, but Keller turned away shots by Emilio and Ben Olsen.

"Things just didn't go our away," Wallace said. "I thought we made good opportunities and we made good chances, but we just couldn't get a chance to finish."