RENTON , WASH. – Major League Soccer today announced Sounders FC forward Fredy Montero the 2009 MLS Newcomer of the Year.
Montero finished tied for third in goals (12) and game-winning goals (4), and led MLS in shots (86) and was seventh in attempts on goal (32). He also scored the first goal in Sounders FC’s 2-1 victory over D.C. United for the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
Seattle goalkeeper Kasey Keller and midfielder Freddie Ljungberg were the other two finalists for Newcomer of the Year.
“This is a great honor for Fredy because he faced some formidable competition for the award within our own team,” said Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid. “He had a great first season in MLS, and we’re very proud of his accomplishment.”
Montero came to Sounders FC from Deportivo Cali. He twice led the Colombian First Division in scoring, including 2006-07 while on loan to Atletico Huila.
The 22-year-old Colombian was among Seattle’s four representatives in this year’s MLS All-Star game.
Montero made a most favorable first impression in MLS and has sustained a remarkable pace throughout the season. He made the transition to a new land and a new language while remaining one of the most prolific attackers in the league.
Scoring two goals and adding an assist in his debut match, Montero’s start was the strongest since Brian McBride in the inaugural season, and his three goals in the first two games was the most productive since Luciano Emilio in 2007. He was named March Player of the Month.
From June 13 to June 28, Montero scored in four consecutive games as Seattle went 2-0-2
Montero has exhibited power with his heavy outside blasts, plus creativity in beating defenders on the dribble. Two of his scores were voted MLS Goal of the Week. He finished tied for second on the team and ninth in the league with seven assists, and he suffered the second-most fouls (62).
The Newcomer of the Year honors the player who is in his first season in Major League Soccer, but has prior professional experience, making him ineligible for Rookie of the Year honors. The award’s prior recipients were D.C. United’s Luciano Emilio (2007) and San Jose’s Darren Huckerby (2008).