Vargas’ goal pushes Impact past short-handed Sounders, 1-0
Vargas scored on a point-blank shot in the 60th minute, and the Impact beat the short-handed Seattle Sounders 1-0 on Saturday night.
”A lot of times, guys with that (quiet) type of personality aren’t great on the field, but he has been fantastic for us,” goalkeeper Evan Bush said of Chilean native Vargas, who is in his first MLS season. ”I came in here and said congratulations to him, and he was laughing and smiling, just like a kid.
”His personality and enthusiasm and playful attitude he has to play the game, it’s infectious, and you can sense that.”
Montreal won its second straight after an 0-2-0 start, with both wins coming against the last two MLS Cup winners – 1-0 against defending champion Toronto on March 17, and now against 2016 titlist Seattle.
”I’m quite pleased with the results, and I’m quite pleased with the way we played the game,” coach Remi Garde said. ”We went under pressure in the second half, even though we were a man up. We knew Seattle was a good team, especially in home games. We have these two games in a row, so we’re going to try to keep this momentum.”
The Sounders are 0-3-0 for the second time in club history. They also dropped three in a row to start the 2016 season before winning the MLS Cup.
”While we had some good moments – we had a couple of sequences where we were able to keep possession in their field, win the ball back, stuff like that – it’s not as good as we would have liked,” Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer said. ”I thought the chances we created with 10 men were pretty decent. Some of those set pieces we were dangerous on.”
Ignacio Piatti set up Vargas’ goal. Piatti had the ball on the top right side of the 6-yard box. He tried to get closer to the net, but couldn’t get psat Seattle defender Roman Torres. Piatti passed it back toward the top of the 6, and Vargas sent a wide-open shot into the back left corner, his second goal of the year.
Vargas nearly had one in the first half when he launched a 26-yard free kick over a five-man Seattle wall. But Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei lunged and slapped it away from the left post and over the top.
”That was a big goal, and I’m really happy for him,” defender Ken Krolicki said. ”He could have had the one in the first half. But one goal is all you need if you defend well.”
Seattle, which has yet to score this season, had a player sent off with a red card for the third straight game. This time, it was defender Kelvin Leerdam in the 40th minute after he undercut Daniel Lovitz when the Impact defender leaped for a ball on the left side near midfield. As the two got up and scuffled after the foul, Leerdam slapped Lovitz on the left side of his head.
A video review was called, and referee Ismail Elfath came back from it to send Leerdam off the field. Lovitz was issued a yellow for the scuffle.
That was the second game in a row Seattle has lost a player to a straight red following a video review. Clint Dempsey was ejected in the 37th minute of a 3-0 loss at Dallas on March 18. Tony Alfaro picked up a second yellow and subsequent red in the 83rd minute of a season-opening 1-0 defeat to Los Angeles FC on March 4.
The Sounders have been down a man for 110 of the 270 minutes they’ve played this year.
”I get it – guys get heated in the heat of the moment,” Schmetzer said. ”But that’s when you have to be most composed. That sort of stuff is going to stop.”