You knew this was coming, didn't you? How could you not, with the Seattle Sounders winning the US Open Cup last night, and my Montero madness already being so evident on the site. While it's always slightly awkward to write about a player whom I've actually stood face-to-face with, considering this is a story about a pocket player rather than a "OMG HE IS SO DREAMY" post, I've justified it to myself.
For those of you intent on ignoring Major League Soccer, let me explain: Fredy Montero is one of the league's best, one of the few that could go on to Europe to continue their career. However, the Sounders released this week a quote regarding keeping Montero as their third designated player. Adding the striker on as a third DP is a huge statement of faith in Montero. It involves potentially paying $250,000 to MLS, but it also discounts Seattle's ability to bring in another player of such high caliber, seeing as they already have Blaise Nkufo and Alvaro Fernandez. If Montero is offered the contract, the Sounders are telling the world that they believe in their 23-year-old star.
And for good reason. Watching Fredy Montero is the number-one reason it's good to be a Sounder supporter. In addition to having a powerful long-range shot--check out his free kick from forty yards that make FC Dallas fans cry--Montero's decisions on the pitch show an understanding and awareness of the movement of the game that most of his teammates can't even approach.
Montero will regularly use trickery to make up for his small stature. Being 5'9" (I don't know that I believe this stat, but I will get out the measuring tape next time) and slender in a league in which most players are much more physically imposing, he's had to use his brain to help his game. As a result, his play almost becomes a dance. He'll regularly fool the opposition by pretending to snatch a ball before stepping out of its path, allowing its progress to continue unheeded. Montero will often taunt other players, moving around the ball but not actually allowing the ball to move. Through it all, he stays composed during play, taking his time even when he senses an oncoming defender--a skill that may not seem that special, but many of his compatriots often appear rattled, sending passes to no one or allowing the other team to win the ball.
Dave Clark of Sounder at Heart told me today that I needed to get Montero out of my pocket and let him score goals again. While I certainly appreciate the sexiness of his goals, Fredy is much more than a simple target man, whose only aim is to get the ball into the net. Montero functions much like an advanced playmaking midfielder, and as such he is just as important for the role he plays in building up to the goal. Yet Montero is clearly frustrated with his goal-less streak, and based on this alone, I'd like for him to add another to his Sounders tally. But sorry, I'm still keeping him in my pocket.