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Fredy Montero leads balanced forwards

Fredy Montero's 16 goals leads a group of forwards who finally give head coach Sigi Schmid plenty of options up front.

In the Sounders FC’s four seasons in Major League Soccer, they have gotten goals from several different spots on the field.

Last year, the second tier of scorers elevated their levels, with Montero and Alvaro Fernandez leading the group while Lamar Neagle, Osvaldo Alonso, Mike Fucito and Brad Evans all had at least six goals apiece.

With that dispersal spreading throughout the field, it created a dynamic attack for the Sounders.  However, Montero was in need of support up top and in 2012, he is getting just that, as all of Seattle’s top four scorers this year are forwards.

Montero leads the team with 16 goals across all competitions and Eddie Johnson is right behind with 15.  But this year, Sammy Ochoa has put in seven goals and David Estrada has six, giving head coach Sigi Schmid plenty of options and allowing him to plug pieces into the starting lineup when needed without making drastic philosophical changes when either Montero or Johnson are unable to start.

“This is a team where every single player wants to play and that’s more competition,” Montero said.  “Like Sammy showed the last game – he can assist and he can score goals.”

Like the other positions on the field, where there is a strong enough group that Schmid can make adjustments with his starting lineup and with substitutions, the forwards are a versatile group in which each player offers something different.

When all four have been healthy, it has created a spirited group in each training session that has pushed the pace for Montero and Johnson. 

“The organization has done well in finding a group of guys at each position to give us that competitiveness to push each other week-in and week-out to get better,” Johnson said.

With still five regular season matches and one more CONCACAF Champions League match on the schedule, the forwards still have plenty of opportunity to improve on their scoring totals for the season.  That will start with a Cascadia Cup clash with the Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday at BC Place in Vancouver.  The match will be televised nationally on NBC Sports at 6 p.m. PT.