Montero keeping Seattle on a roll in MLS

 Fredy Montero (ISIphotos.com)

By JOSE M. ROMERO

So much came out of the Seattle Sounders' 2-1 come-from-behind win over the Chicago Fire Saturday night. Let's start with the obvious.

First, Seattle now has a seven-match unbeaten streak in MLS play. 

Second, Fredy Montero scored twice, including an extra time goal that set off a wild celebration at Qwest Field. The striker and reigning MLS Player of the Week, with his play, continues to scoff at those who have doubted him and make a mockery of that "sophomore jinx" thing. 

"You do all the hard work and when you win one like that and you score late like you do, it's such an outstanding feeling," coach Sigi Schmid said. "That's something that sometimes becomes defining moments for teams in a season."

Said Montero: "We have been dreaming about this situation and a goal so late in the game, giving us three points, got us closer to the playoffs."

Third, Seattle showed it doesn't need Freddie Ljungberg in its midfield to be a successful team, as good as Ljungberg was for the club last season. Moreover, the move to trade Ljungberg to the Fire is looking more and more like a genius move by GM Adrian Hanauer, as is the acquisition of Alvaro Fernandez. Ljungberg's replacements, including Fernandez, aren't losing all-important league games for the Sounders, and Hanauer didn't come away from the deal totally empty-handed.

The fans' boos for Ljungberg were unwarranted, however. Without him, the inaugural season wouldn't have been nearly as successful.

Fourth, The Sounders are right in the thick of the MLS playoff chase, currently holding down the sixth overall spot and fourth in the West.

Fifth, holding midfielder Osvado Alonso's return to form after some time out with injuries has been another turning point for Seattle. 

Now, a few more things to ponder. 

1. Anyone catch who had the assists in Saturday's game? Two guys who were practically afterthoughts last season, but whom the club decided to retain for 2010. Tyson Wahl (first career assist) was mainly used in U.S. Open Cup games last season and hadn't played in an MLS game since April 25. Nathan Sturgis delivered one of the most accurate balls all season on his game-winning assist to Montero, the first assist of 2010 for Sturgis. He didn't appear in an MLS game after Aug. 8 for the Sounders in 2009. 

2. Goalkeeper Kasey Keller, and apparently the team, have the right attitude. After Seattle lost to Monterey in its most recent CONCACAF Champions League group match, 2-0, Keller said he "couldn't care less" about CCL, expressing his opinion about keeping the team's momentum going in league play. The Sounders aren't officially out of the CCL, but their next two group matches are on the road. Not looking good for advancement

Keller didn't completely dismiss the significance of winning CCL games, but the Sounders are taking care of business in MLS play right now.

3. The offseason was dotted with rumors and reports of Montero's departure. With the success he's had (10 goals, nine assists in 22 MLS games), expect international interest to be even higher for the 23-year-old Colombian. And the offers might be too tempting for Hanauer to pass up, unless the club makes Montero a designated player and shells out really big dollars. At this point, he's worth strong consideration.  

The Sounders are on track for more success outside of league play. If they can get by Chivas USA in a 2010 U.S. Open Cup semifinal match Wednesday, they'll host the Open Cup final on Oct. 5 at Qwest Field. 

This entry was posted in CONCACAF Champions League, Major League Soccer, MLS- Chicago Fire, MLS- Seattle Sounders. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Montero keeping Seattle on a roll in MLS

  1. kpugs says:

    The Sounders fans deserve success more than any other group in the league. Pains me to say that. Good for them, I couldn’t care less about the team or Montero though.

  2. g-dub says:

    I was skeptical at first, but Montero is really proving to be an outstanding player. He is so composed in front of goal (see the first goal last night.) He’s consistently dangerous in the run of play and on dead balls. And his defensive work rate this year is impressive, which speaks to his fitness. Also nice to see an MLS player give love to his club’s crest after scoring.

  3. g-dub says:

    Hopefully we get to see Montero play for Columbia against the Nats.

  4. Fred Garvin says:

    Jose.. I can’t wait til you take this thing full time next year..

  5. Montero is a great player and keeps getting better every game. keep it up!

  6. Elbowroom says:

    ACES

  7. Crazy says:

    Off Topic, but why has there been lamenting over the proposed changes to CONCACAF qualifying? Won’t these changes make it easier to get into the WC? Call me crazy, but I say missing a chance to get pee thrown at our players and increasing our chances to qualify are good things. By all accounts(wikipedia page) it appears the same teams are going to qualify anyway whether they use a hex or 2 groups of 4.

  8. Illmatic74 says:

    Because playing Mexico are the two qualifying games I am the most excited about.

  9. gilby says:

    Montero has looked much better this year and I think its been a combination of three things.

    1. Defensive work rate he is all over the field all game every game chasing loose balls going after the keeper on pass backs and really pressuring the back line.

    2. He seems stronger and is not going to ground as easily. Last year he would go down pretty easy even in situations where he could have maintained possession and possibly scored. This year he’s fighting off challenges the goal he scored a few weeks ago off Kellers punt is a good example he shielded the defender turned him and scored.

    3. He’s playing more as a withdrawn striker. He’s tucking in and running off the second striker which means he’s getting the ball facing defenders more and as a result has been more effective turning them and passing which has resulted in an uptick in assists.

  10. jonk says:

    Why is it “the right attitude” for Keller to express that he doesn’t care about CCL? Seattle aren’t some mid-table EPL team that needs to focus on league play instead of the Europa league so they don’t get relegated. I thought we wanted teams to take CCL seriously, not lose 1 game and throw in the towel. It seems like “the right attitude” would be Keller keeping things in perspective and at least remaining cautiously optimistic (when speaking to the press) that Seattle can still make it out of their group.

  11. swoopster says:

    Jose … please tell me that you understand why some fans would boo FL? Maybe unnecessary, but not totally undeserved. This is the same guy that refused to show up for pre-season training as he was desperately trying to land a gig in Europe. He may have contributed to a portion of the first season success of SSFC, but hardly the keystone in the deal.

  12. J says:

    I agree the CCL is a way to continue getting more recognition of the advancement of the league. Is a league title more important, of course but in this sport you can walk and chew gum at the same time. International club tournaments are as much a part of the game as anything else its a shame most Americans seem to put no value in them, especially when it looked like the Sounders might change that attitude.

  13. Chief Seattle says:

    I was one of the people booing. His attitude was terrible, and, in my opinion, he quit on the team when he realized they weren’t going to sign him next year.

  14. Charles says:

    Amen to both.

    I said I would boo if he didn’t dive, complain to the ref and then not get back on D at least four times. He didn’t…I did.

    No regrets booing him. I can put up with players sucking, I can’t put up with not doing what it takes to win ( effort ).

    p.s. I don’t think he was that big of a factor in the first season. He had some moments definitely….

  15. adiamas says:

    Really? Why?

    Is their support miles above anyone else? Have they continued supporting through terrible seasons and non play off years?

    That Seattle “deserve success” more than say the Colorado, Chivas or NY fans and their rough history is questionable.

    I’d think that Toronto, being the first team to continually sell out games before Seattle had a team, would deserve a play off run more.

  16. BYo says:

    This quote was taken out of context. What he was really saying is that that was the past and the MLS game is what the team is focusing on. I’m sure that Keller and the team care tremendously about CCL.

    Sorry looked but couldn’t find the source.