Montero’s playoffs struggles continue for Sounders

Photo by ISIphotos.com

Fredy Montero just cannot get it going when things matter most.

Playing in his ninth playoff game for the Seattle Sounders on Sunday, Montero once again was held scoreless in a disappointing performance in a 3-0 defeat to the Los Angeles Galaxy in the first leg of their Western Conference semifinals series. Montero has never scored for Seattle in the postseason, and his struggles in Sunday’s match at the Home Depot Center forced head coach Sigi Schmid to remove the Colombian striker in the 65th minute.

Now, the Sounders are in a big hole in the series and they will need Montero to end his damning drought if they are to have any hope of reaching the MLS Cup final.

Why is it, however, that Montero struggles so mightily in the playoffs? Schmid believes it may be because teams are stronger defensively in the postseason, which makes things tougher on Montero.

“Obviously, there are streaks and goal-scorers are streaky,” Schmid told the Seattle Times. “It’s been over four years now and he hasn’t found the goal in the playoffs. He’s working hard. He’s trying to get the ball. He’s trying to get some looks, certainly, but teams focus a little bit harder in the playoffs and it’s been harder for him to find space.”

If space is hard to come by during a regular postseason game, Montero will have his work cut out for him in the second leg at CenturyLink Field. The Galaxy are currently sitting on a comfortable three-goal cushion, and it is unlikely that they will leave Seattle much space to exploit in a match that will surely be played in front of a huge number of Sounders supporters.

Still, Montero is known for being able to come up with moments of magic and he has the skill and finishing ability to make defenses pay for even the slightest hiccup.

Montero will indeed have an opportunity to redeem himself for all his past playoff troubles, but he will need a big outing in order to do so.

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Why do you think Montero struggles in the postseason? Do you see him bouncing back in the second leg? Think there is any chance the Sounders can overcome their three-goal deficit to the Galaxy?

Share your thoughts below.

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35 Responses to Montero’s playoffs struggles continue for Sounders

  1. Seaoctopus says:

    Methinks SeƱor Montero has overstayed his welcome….

  2. peterjh says:

    Being played as the sole forward may have contributed to his issues last night…

    • XPK says:

      I agree. Montero looked ineffective as a lone striker. I haven’t seen enough Sounder’s games to comment on whether he is just streaky or whether he plays consistently better with another “target forward” up top.

      Should be a great game in Seattle though I feel they left themselves with too big a margin to overcome against what looks to be a rampant and confident Galaxy offense.

    • bottlcaps says:

      Agree also!! Montero is not the typical lone forward type. He was routinely beat to air balls by the 6’5″ Gonzales and 6’2″ Meyers. His speed could not be utilized as the sounders didn’t put anybody into the bos on a consistent basis. Eddie Johnson would have been a better fit.

      All-in-all I think Montero was a decoy. Schmid was hoping for a draw or 1-0 defeat with the players he had available. Montero, with his speed, was put in to keep the backline honest and avoid having the Galaxy corners making runs.

      It didn’t work

    • bcoug says:

      Absolutely!
      I can’t think of a single time when Sigi has placed Montero up top by himself where it translated into goals. He’s not the type of player that works well in that formation, so why put him in that position?

  3. NaranjaFanatic says:

    I have no idea why it seems to come to this every post season for Montero but I do know that there just seems to be a lot of blaming in Seattle. Even when Schmidt “supports” his guys it is kind of a backhanded support like in this case where he makes sure to mention that it has been four years without a goal. I’d rather him say something like, “Well, I put him up front with no help so some of this is on me.” Montero is a great talent and I wouldn’t get rid of him. The team I support is one that regardless of the ups and downs of the regular season, always brings it in a big way when it counts (even though they frequently have the lowest payroll). If you follow the Dynamo you know that total support for each other from the top on down, taking responsibility, and playing for each other is their trademark. I don’t follow Seattle all that closely so I may be off but it just seems to me that with the talent on their roster, if they had a similar mentality they would really wreck shop.

    • hincha tim says:

      Seattle frequently having the Lowest payroll? What alternate universe are you in?

    • Leonardo says:

      Well said. I blame Sigi. Others also pointed out the formation v. Galaxy (lone striker) did not play to Montero’s style. If i was Montero I’d move to another team. Sigi ain’t leaving so Freddy needs to find opportunity elsewhere.

      He is awesome and needs to continue to improve elsewhere in the league

      • Rachel says:

        Maybe the two 3 hour flights rather than resting for the 2 days, had something to do with the loss. The Sounders were tired, and you could see it, especially in the second half.
        Fredy Montero can have moments of greatness but, they are few and far between. I also wouldn’t classify him as a hard worker by any means and if he’s going to play the lone striker position, he needs to work. I was truly disappointed with the loss, but I believe that this team can get it back. It’s Sigi’s year to win another MLS Cup. Bring the cup where it will be appreciated the most. Come on SEATTLE.

  4. John says:

    Montero scores 1) unmarked from distance and 2) headers and tap-ins on the break. Rarely does he generate his own shot off the dribble, and last night especially, he got the ball with his back to goal. Not surprised he didn’t score last night.

  5. Travis says:

    Last night really can’t be used against Montero. No supporting striker and no Rosales out there, it was always going to be extremely difficult. Also Tiffert may as well have been playing for LA with the amount of misplaced passes he had

    • bcoug says:

      All of this plus Martinez lobbing in free kicks and crosses directly to Saunders between stints of not playing any defense did the team no favors.

      There was alot wrong with Sigi’s strategy and the Sounder’s play last night. Montero not being able to beat LA’s back four by himself (which is what he would have needed to do, given the ridiculous service and support he had) is the least of the team’s concerns.

  6. Andrew Brown says:

    Seattle spent so much time worrying about LA’s counter, they never really committed numbers to the attack. Montero isn’t the problem. It’s purely coincidental that Montero struggled last night.

    A similar article would decry Robbie Keane’s scoring prowess based on the fact he had two goals last night. Everyone who watched the game knows Keane was a bit greedy on the 2nd. In basketball if you put a shot like that away they call it offensive goal tending.

    • Shake says:

      Well that is kind of a silly comparison. The reason offensive goaltending exists in basketball is because they have to balance out the defensive goal tending rule. It would be too much of an advantage for the offense without the rule.

      In soccer, there is no reason for that to even be thought of.

    • TommyOC says:

      There is an offensive goaltending rule in soccer:
      It’s called “offside.”

  7. limey says:

    He’s the Vladamir Guerrero of soccer!

  8. Yep says:

    It’s time to move on. Montero is not a leader, disappears in big games, and just not worth a DP slot. Sell him to some desperate lower level Euro club and move on Seattle.

  9. NaranjaFanatic says:

    I disagree. Yes, he has needed an annual kick in the butt but he’s too talented to just write off. I think the problem is as much about a combination of his personality, the strategies employed by the Sounders coaching staff during the playoffs, and the fact that the other “star” players are usually too hobbled in the playoffs to contribute. I’ve never been a big Montero fan but I think a lot of this is just piling frustrations onto one player. The problem is really that the Sounders took another collective dump in the playoffs.

  10. Matt says:

    How about some credit to the LA defense???

    • Leonardo says:

      +1 Omar et al had Seattles attack on lock-down.

    • Gnarls says:

      Thank you. Omar was doing what Omar does and little Tommy Meyer is playing like an experienced CB. Montero is a talented striker, but he couldn’t handle a near-100% Galaxy defense (still no AJ).

      Side note: When LA was blown out by Seattle 4-0 this season, LA’s back line was Bryan Gaul, David Lopes, Gonzo (first game back from ACL tear), and AJ. So that results was not indicative of LA’s full potential.

  11. Leonardo says:

    There’s a scene in Clint Eastwood’s Trouble with the Curve that relates to this situation. Clint Eastwood tells this player who is in a slump to “go home and see your family.” afterwards the player does phenomenally better. This is the same situation. Seattle is a rainy, cold place albeit full of beautiful people. Montero is from Atlantico, Colombia – hot, tropical weather, and beautiful people in his home state. I tell you when Orlando gets a team Montero better be on it, and he will be better for it.

    • Leonardo says:

      P.S. orlando cuz its closer to Montero’s home and family on Colombia’s coast and he could do days off there.
      P.P.S. 4 years in Seattle will start to wear on you, so i’ve been told by friends who moved from there to California. =)

    • Frank Garrett says:

      Eff Eastwood and his politics