Montero Heating Up

With four goals in his last three matches, Fredy Montero is taking over at the right time for the Sounders FC.

Goal scorers, Sigi Schmid said, are sometimes streaky.

Count Fredy Montero among those that fall into that category.  And the 24-year-old Colombian is on a good streak right now.

In his last three competitive matches, he has scored the game-winning goal in the US Open Cup semifinal against FC Dallas, scored a great goal just before halftime to keep the Sounders even with Real Salt Lake at the half, though they eventually fell 2-1 to RSL in MLS play, and netted a brace Wednesday in Seattle’s 2-1 victory over Herediano in Costa Rica in the CONCACAF Champions League.

His hot streak comes at a good time for the Sounders time, too, as they are in the midst of a run of nine matches over 29 days, each with high importance in their efforts to remain successful in three different competitions.

“It’s good to see Fredy get goals now,” Schmid said.  “He scored an important goal in the Open Cup.  He scored an important goal obviously in league and now scored again here in this competition to get an early lead, which is very important in these games away from home.”

The Sounders remain within striking distance of the LA Galaxy in the race for the Supporters’ Shield, seven points back with six matches left on the schedule.  While somewhat daunting considering the consistency LA has maintained in MLS play this season, the Sounders hold confidence that they can keep the race close.  Geared with the knowledge that they can string together a month without a loss, as they did in August, they can certainly make the battle for the Supporters’ Shield interesting in the final weeks of the season.

In addition, they will play for the US Open Cup championship, aiming for their third straight title in that tournament on October 4, when they meet the Chicago Fire at CenturyLink Field.

In Champions League, they have nine points through three matches and are reigning atop the Group D standings with still two of their next three matches in that competition at home.  Though not assured yet of advancement to the quarterfinals, they are certainly in the driver’s seat and could seal a spot in the knockout round on Tuesday against Herediano at CenturyLink Field.

In all those different competitions, Montero has proven a driving force of late.  He has 11 goals across all competitions, including seven in MLS, two in Champions League and two in the Open Cup.

And it’s not often that someone is described as humble in their accomplishments while also referring to himself in the third person, but with Montero, that was the case after the win over Herediano on Wednesday.

“I keep working like always.  The team always trusts me and believes in Fredy Montero,” he said.  “It’s good for me.  It’s good for the team.  To get three points is very important.  Looking forward to what we want - to be in the next round of the Champions League.”

Maintaining the momentum over the final ten matches Seattle has in Open Cup, Champions League and MLS play could be a boon for a team that has found ways to score when Montero is not getting on the board.

“He is hitting a good streak and we need him to hit a good streak,” Schmid said.  “We have been the kind of team when he wasn’t on a streak there was somebody else who would step up and score goals for us.”

Seattle has had 14 different goal scorers in MLS play this season and with the contributions of Alvaro Fernandez (6 goals), Lamar Neagle (5 goals) and Mauro Rosales (5 goals, 10 assists), Montero hasn’t needed to shoulder as much of the scoring load as he has in previous seasons.

And to his credit, Montero has found other ways to contribute when he’s not scoring.  While still far from a defensive dynamo, he has made an increasing effort to track back and help the Sounders start their attack deeper and deeper on the field.

“I just want to work every game.  If I keep scoring goals that’s good for me because that is important for forwards,” he said.  “What’s important for me now is that the team gets the three points and look forward to the next game.”

The next game for Seattle is Saturday at CenturyLink Field against a strong DC United team that is fighting for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.  Kickoff is set for 6 pm.

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