By IAN HOLLIDAY
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Sixteen-year-old Diego Fagundez scored in his first MLS start, but it was Fredy Montero who made the difference in Seattle Sounders FC's 2-1 victory over the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium Saturday night.
The Columbian capitalized on sloppy defending from the Revs in the 36th and 47th minutes to overturn Fagundez's 35th minute opener and improve the visitors to 16-6-9 (57 points) on the season and keep the pressure on Los Angeles in the Supporters Shield race. The Galaxy take on Real Salt Lake later Saturday night.
New England (5-14-12, 27 points) had the better of the play for much of the first half against a Sounders squad missing several regulars. The home side could only come out of the half tied, however, despite outshooting the visitors 10-3 in the first half.
Signed over the summer as the Revolution's first ever home-grown player, Fagundez was influential in the Revolution attack, making good runs off the ball and getting behind the Sounders' defense on several occasions. The youngster's hard work paid off in the 35th minute, when he eluded his marker and headed home a Benny Feilhaber corner kick.
After the match, Fagundez said his run was part of a play the Revs had practiced at training, with the same result.
"I did the same exact play at practice and in the game," Fagundez said. "The play's working, so I guess I should keep doing it."
Fagundez's goal separated the teams for just 66 seconds, however, as Montero ran onto a back pass that Ryan Cochrane badly misplayed into his path. The forward took a touch and fired a left-footed shot past Matt Reis. Cochrane was the nearest defender to the ball on Montero's second goal as well, allowing Nate Jaqua to chest a loose ball into the striker's path.
The brace was Montero's second in as many league games. He scored twice in the second half of the Sounders' 3-1 win over Vancouver last weekend.
Montero said he felt "blessed" to have scored and helped his team win, but he said the Sounders' focus is already on Tuesday night's U.S. Open Cup final against the Chicago Fire.
"After the game we don't have time to enjoy the win, because we have a big game – a final – wating for us when we get home," he said.
Montero nearly completed the hat-trick in the 58th minute, but his headed effort was just touched off the goal line by Matt Reis.
The Revs should have opened the scoring through designated player Milton Caraglio in the fourth minute. The Argentine got to a headed cross from Ryan Guy before a charging Kasey Keller. The ball ended up in the back of the net, but Caraglio was ruled offside, a judgement the replay showed to be incorrect.
Seattle had a golden opportunity to take the lead in the 34th minute, when Jaqua found himself unmarked at the back post. The forward's free header missed badly, however. Jaqua missed another sitter in the second half, firing high over an empty net after Reis had gone down in the Revolution box.
The Sounders will look to claim their third consecutive U.S. Open Cup at home on Tuesday against the Fire, while the Revolution will host the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday. Seattle hosts the Philadelphia Union in its next MLS match on Saturday.