Former Sounders proving valuable outside of MLS
Posted by: Dave Clark, Special from SounderAtHeart.com
Nine players who once donned Rave Green are currently actively playing soccer in foreign lands. Some are having breakout seasons.
The offseason lacks Seattle Sounders FC action, but several former players are plying their trade in leagues around the world. On loan star Fredy Montero is ripping apart Portugal’s Primeira Liga, but he is not the only player plying his trade as a pro, spreading some of the word of what it means to be a Sounder. Checking in with these nine former Sounders and their current season, some are making large impacts on quality sides.
You may remember him as the team scoring (60 goals in all competitions) and assist (43 all competitions) leader who only just this season was passed by Osvaldo Alonso for the all-time, all-competitions minutes lead (Montero played 12,658 competitive minutes as a Sounder). Montero is currently on loan to Sporting CP in Lisbon, Portugal, after an earlier half season loan to Millonarios in Colombia.
In Portugal, Montero is doing more than he did even in MLS. He leads the league with 11 goals and is earning the attention of his national team coach. Sporting CP currently leads the league with 26 points in 11 games and a +19 goal differential. That is a full 10 points ahead of Portugal’s sixth spot, the best a team can finish and not make it to continental competition. There are still 19 games to play, but the club and Montero seem likely to be in the hunt for a Champions League spot.
The Uruguayan Designated Player was traded to Chicago Fire in 2012, who later loaned him to a club in Qatar and now is on loan to Nacional in his home country. Fernandez’s best scoring season was 2011 and that fueled his 17 goals and 10 assists across all competitions with Seattle. In Uruguay, he remains just on the fringe of national team consideration, sometimes called in and sometimes not. Nacional is in second in the league standings.
Fernandez is a regular midfield starter with 12 appearances (only one as a sub) but has zero goals from his midfield role there.
Made most famous in Sounder-land for his tweets about tacos, the Swedish midfielder is an offensive force for Malmo FF. His current club finished the season at the top of the Allsvenskan and will be in the UEFA Champions League qualifying round. Friberg was fourth on his team in scoring with six goals. He took the pitch 27 times in 30 league opportunities. As a Sounder, Friberg played as a right midfielder and center midfielder, logging 2,454 minutes with one goal and two assists.
Johansson left Seattle after just one year as the starting right back. In his more than 2,000 minutes he recorded two assists. Also in the Allsvenskan, his new club IFK Goteborg finished in third place and will be competing in the Europa League. He was a regular starter for club and earned his way back into World Cup 2014 consideration, making eight qualifying rosters and appearing twice.
Ochoa spent more seasons with Seattle than anyone else on this list than Montero. He is currently 10th all-time in all-competitions goals with Seattle. Those 10 goals and two assists came in a relatively even split between starting and subbing.
Ochoa is now with Lobos BUAP of the Mexican second division (Ascenso MX). The Lobos are led by former MLS great Cuauhtemoc Blanco. Ochoa joined the club late their season so did not feature in the mid-table finish.
Tiffert left Seattle just prior to the start of the 2013 season. His Sounders FC career saw him earn four assists in just 1,359 minutes primarily as a central midfielder.
Tiffert is now back in Germany’s second division with BFL Bochum 1848, sitting seven points back from his last German side – Kaiserslautern. He is a regular on the team, playing in 11 of 16 league matches in a midfield that features players from five different nations.
The winger played nine less minutes than Tiffert in his two half-seasons with Seattle. Martinez’s most famous moment was his MLS Cup Playoffs goal against Real Salt Lake to send Sounders FC to the 2012 Western Conference Championship. Now with Real Espana in Honduras, he is again in a playoff situation. They take on Real Sociedad in the two-leg final over the next two Sundays.
A regular starter, Martinez scored six goals in league play and is third on the team in goals scored. Since rejoining the team that loaned him to Seattle he’s been a bit less frequent of a national team player, but that could change given his league performance.
The young winger left Sounders FC some time ago for the Montreal Impact (bracketing their rise to MLS). Now he is playing in Colombia’s second division for Uniautonoma and won the Grand Final. Montano had 11 appearances with one league goal.
One of the many Nordic players to join Sounders FC, Sivebaek played played 101 competitive minutes for Seattle. He did not score or assist. His current side Vejle is in the Danish First Division (their second tier league) and has a chance at earning promotion. Listed as a defender, Sivebaek has three goals in his 15 league appearances (fourth on the squad).
These former (but always) Sounders FC players are no longer in leagues easy to follow. What they are doing is helping teams win trophies, space in continental competitions and sharing stories of their experiences in Seattle doing the same thing.
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