Seattle started well with Mike Fucito hitting the post a minute and a half in, but Toronto FC bossed the rest of the first half and very early went ahead on a few occasions, Nathan Sturgis curling in several dangerous free kicks that only just missed the target. Toronto packed the midfield with a 4-1-4-1 formation, playing with three central midfielders in something approaching a holding role, and with Mauro Rosales being man-marked into ineffectiveness and Lamar Neagle just plain ineffective Seattle'ss attack looked entirely nonthreatening.
The first half started far, far better with Seattle looking right on the cusp of scoring, but defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado was shown an exceedingly soft second yellow card in the 49th minute and the Sounders were down to ten men. Zach Scott replaced Lamar Neagle, who might have put in his worst performance of the season, with Fredy Montero shifting up top. Seattle's response was far from the expected bunker and counter however, and the Sounders continued to control much of the possession for the second half. Toronto was still dangerous on the counter however, and the second half was a back-and-forth battle of long spells of Sounders possession and dangerous Toronto counter attacks.
Toronto began to get the better of the play as time wore on, hitting the post on one scramble in the box, but it was a stunning curled free kick from Fredy Montero in the 90th minute that made the difference. Montero appeared to be nursing an injury for much of the game that robbed him of some of his speed, but he was nonetheless excellent in a deeper, freer role and the goal put the cap on one of his best performances of the season. Mauro Rosales stretched Toronto's defense late on as the home side went on the attack and won the free kick that Montero converted to give Seattle the lead, a decidedly more effective second half going a long way towards keeping the Reds backline honest and preventing the play from being pushed deeper into the Seattle end.
It wasn't the prettiest win of the season for Seattle but it was a gutty, professional performance that garnered the Sounders a much needed win. Going down to ten men away from home typically guarantees a tie as the most favorable result, but Seattle's determination and pushing for a win ultimately made a huge difference. The Sounders might not have been as dominant as hoped, but to take three points in this fashion is just as good. These games say a great deal about a team's character and determination to win and Seattle has to feel confident after their performance. With a shorthanded and struggling New York Red Bulls on tap after a short turnaround, the momentum picked up from this sort of result could help steer things in a very positive direction.
You can find video of Montero's goal here. For more on the Sounders, head over to SB Nation's Sounder at Heart.