Despite delivering one of their best attacking efforts of the season, as well as enjoying massive encouragement from a CenturyLink throng of 44,575 Sunday night, the Sounders couldn’t overcome the Los Angeles Galaxy in the Western Conference playoffs and exited the postseason a 2-1 second-leg winner, but a 4-2 aggregate-goal loser.
Apart from the maximum effort the Sounders delivered, especially in the first 45 minutes, the most telling development – and perhaps the most significant – occurred in the 73rd minute when Sounders coach Sigi Schmid pulled Fredy Montero, the franchise’s all-time leading scorer, and replaced him with David Estrada.
Schmid’s move caught both TV announcers, Adrian Healey and Taylor Twellman, by surprise because Montero is the team’s highest-paid player and one of two, along with Eddie Johnson, considered most likely to score a goal in a game in which the Sounders needed all the goals they could get.
“That says a lot,” Twellman said as the cameras caught Montero exiting the pitch.
What said more about Montero was that when he went to the Seattle bench, he took with him a resume showing exactly no goals in 10 playoff games covering 829 minutes. A NFL quarterback wouldn’t have a career left if he went that long without generating a scoring drive.
A Colombian who has been with the Sounders since their 2009 inception, and one of the club’s more popular players, Montero possesses considerable skill. He is also a player given to sudden streaks of offensive creativity but prolonged lapses into lethargy. Montero doesn’t always come to play and too many times does not appear to have his head in the game.
The Sounders pay Montero, one of the team’s three designated players, a significant sum of money to come up big in big games. But in the biggest matches, he never has.
When Schmid was asked about Montero’s playoff failures last week, he largely defended his forward, saying that a lot of that failure can be attributed to opponents keying on Montero and denying him scoring opportunities.
Funny how the same type of opponents’ focus doesn’t seem to deter L.A.’s Robbie Keane, the man most responsible for eliminating Seattle from the 2012 playoffs, from coming up big in the postseason.
Keane has scored five playoff goals, including two and an assist in the first leg against Seattle. In the second leg, he created a penalty-kick opportunity by booting the ball into Adam Johansson’s hand, and then converted the ensuing PK.
Montero has had four years’ worth of playoffs to prove himself worthy of designated player status. He hasn’t cut it. We think it’s time the Sounders find a way to unload Montero and move in a different direction. Agree or disagree?
…if there’s no improvement well into next season, then move him.
If the Sounders are going to move him, they’ll likely do it before next season starts. Thanks for commenting.
We should sell his rights to a non MLS club. If he stays in the mls he will bring his a game against us.
People calling to hang on to Montero after four years of “will he or won’t he?” remind me of all the NBA teams who took a chance on Benoit Benjamin, including the Sonics, because they were more focused on his natural talent (which was considerable) than his work ethic (which was infinitesimal).
There are fans who are enamored with a striker who has never scored a postseason goal in four years and is coming off a stretch of four shots total over his last four games, but I’m ready to cut bait and give Eddie Johnson the money instead. Johnson’s got his own baggage, but there’s no doubt whether you’ll get an effort out of him.
Thanks, RadioGuy, for this offering. Benoit Benjamin is a guy who once entered a game wearing two left shoes. At least Montero has never done that.
Freddy is scary talented. What he needs, whether he stays or goes, is to hit the weight room. His listed size of 5’9″ and 162lbs. is a joke (more like 5’7″ 150). He gets totally shut down by bigger stronger defenders and gets pushed off the ball easily. In contrast, look at Lionel Messi. He’s like 5’7″ (5’6″) plays lower to the ground and has about twice Freddy’s neck size and upper body strength.
You want to score in soccer? Speed is essential, but you also have to be deceptively strong. Messi is one of the strongest players for his size I’ve ever seen. Freddy should take note. Eddie penetrates with his size and speed. Freddie must use quickness and power. Right now he lacks that strength. If he can get physically stronger without sacrificing quickness, he could go to the next level. But, as RadioGuy implied, it would take effort.
I want to thank you for offering these comments. They really illuminate the situation.
For the team to get to that next level they need a consistent 1-2 scoring punch and a playmaker who can utilize their skills. Montero simply isn’t consistent enough and unless that changes the club will always go the way he does. He was named captain in an effort to get him to respond to his new role and it didn’t happen. Morales and Johnson need someone more consistent, more dynamic, more of a leader to get to that championship level.
If Eddie is coming back, Montero is expendable. Be real, LA will replace Beckham with Lampard, we need a top level dp that will play like the slogan says, a full 90, not when he wants to. Sigi has tried everything trying to get the most out of him, he’s just too hot and cold, aka Fernando Torres.