When Toronto FC visited Seattle back on April 30, it got drubbed 3-0, so you know the squad was looking forward to the Sounders heading north of the border for some retribution.
Coming in though, Toronto had gone seven games without a win. Seattle wasn’t feeling too much more confident thanks to injuries and inconsistent play.
Fredy Montero, speaking of inconsistent play, walked onto the pitch with a six-game goalless streak, one away from his career record. The Sounders manager Sigi Schmid had benched Montero earlier in the season in hopes it would rekindle his goal-scoring touch. That hadn’t worked, so for this match Schmid had promised a more roaming role for Montero along the front line.
Early movement from the Sounders had Mike Fucito hit the post in the second minute but Toronto piled on the pressure in the final minutes of the first half when Joao Plato forced Kasey Keller to make a diving deflection in the 36th minute and then missed on a shot at the final minutes.
The second half started out with Seattle playing more aggressive, at least until the 49th minute. That was the moment Seattle’s best defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado collected his second yellow card of the match and was forced to head for the locker room.
Seattle has played eight previous matches a man down. Its record for these matches was an ominous 0-6-2. Things didn’t look good when you’re looking at 41 minutes of short-handed play without your best defender and against a team looking to break their winless streak.
The Sounders changed its formation to a 4-4-1 and focused on working the set pieces. It was able to frustrate the much more aggressive Toronto team, working a 0-0 draw beautifully. It wasn’t pretty and Toronto had many more chances to break the draw but Seattle weathered the storm. Towards the end of regulation, the Sounders even managed to push the ball up, counter attacking the increasing desperation of the home team.