It was a less than impressive first half for the Seattle Sounders. A short-handed FC Dallas team kept Seattle pinned back in their own area for large portions of the first 45, an inexperienced Sounders midfield having trouble asserting themselves and an equally inexperienced but adventurous Dallas front line putting immense pressure of rookie keeper Bryan Meredith. The former Kitsap Pumas man was equal to the task however, and thanks to an inspired defensive performance and a rampant Fredy Montero the Sounders were able to secure a franchise best fifth straight win, moving to one point shy of Real Salt Lake with for the Supporters Shield lead with three games in hand.
The Sounders struggled to establish a rhythm early on and FC Dallas took advantage, but Hoops striker Fabian Castillo was unable to take advantage of the enormous amounts of space gifted to him by a disorganized Seattle back line. Seattle's best chance of the opening frame came in the 18th minute, with Mauro Rosales latching onto a clever ball from midfielder Andy Rose but finding his effort at first denied by Kevin Hartman and then knocked off the bar for a goal kick. Dallas regrouped to put steady pressure on Seattle, but after weathering the storm for the better part of half an hour the Sounders were able to wrest control from the home side and by the end of the half Seattle was controlling the play.
The biggest shift in the balance came at the half, when Fredy Montero replaced Mauro Rosales and immediately handed control of the game to Seattle. The second frame belonged to the Sounders alone, but it wasn't until the 68th minute that Seattle took real control. New substitute Cordell Cato (making his first MLS appearance) battled through a tackle in the corner and found himself on space on the wing before cutting the ball back to an open Montero in the box. Montero fought through half the Dallas defense, flicked the ball into space with a back heel and fired past Hartman to give the Sounders a 1-0 lead. Just three minutes later Justin Rose played an excellent ball through to Alex Caskey who sent a wicked low cross into the box that was deflected by an FC Dallas defender and then onto the head of a diving Montero who put the Sounders up 2-0.
That's the way it would finish, with the Sounders going into protection-mode and grinding out the rest of the game. What had been a disappointing first half gave way to a dominant performance after the break, with youngsters Cato, Rose and Caskey shining but still managing to take second billing to Fredy Montero, a player that continues to make his case as being the best player in MLS. With the win the Sounders move to 7-1-1 and, in addition to having the most impressive points-per-game pace in the league now find themselves just a point behind Real Salt Lake-a team that has played three more games than Seattle-for the best record in MLS. It would appear as though the early-season swoon is well and truly a thing of the past> With RSL heading to town this weekend, a continuation of this impressive form could see the Sounders putting a huge amount of space between themselves and their Western Conference rivals at a very early stage.