Offensive struggles worrisome for Sounders' star Montero
SEATTLE — Fredy Montero has no goals through the first five games of the MLS season. In fact, he hasn’t registered a single point for his club.
And even for the notoriously slow-starting Seattle Sounders forward, this is something entirely new.
“I’m worried because that’s what I love, to play and score goals,” Montero said following the team’s 1-0 win over the Colorado Rapids on Saturday. “But right now I’m more worried about the team. I’m happy because the team is winning games.”
Sounders coach Sigi Schmid, who last year called out Montero during an early season scoring slump, sounds far more understanding now. Schmid pointed out that with midfielders Mauro Rosales and Álvaro Fernandez missing time this season with injuries, Montero has been asked to shoulder more of the playmaking responsibilities and has also been positioned farther away from goal.
“There’s times where I think he could save himself some punishment by just getting rid of the ball maybe a step sooner, but as a result of holding it, he ends up getting beat up a lot by the opponent,” Schmid said Saturday. “He drew some fouls for us in dangerous situations that set up free kicks for us that allowed us to be dangerous, too. So overall, I think his impact on the game was a positive one and his role ends up being a little bit different, especially without Flaco [Fernandez] out there and without Mauro out there.”
Of course, the absence of production certainly hasn’t come from lack of trying. Montero's 24 shots are tied for third most in the league, and he’s put 29 percent of those shots on frame, not far from his career average of roughly 37 percent.
He’s getting closer to breaking through, too. Montero nearly opened his account on at least two occasions Saturday, but each time Rapids goalkeeper Matt Pickens came up with nice saves.
Montero’s shot in the 62nd minute also helped set up the Sounders’ eventual game-winning corner kick sequence.
“I’ll do whatever the team needs,” Montero said. “I’m trying to score from long distance, unfortunately for me it doesn’t go in the net. I work hard and practice. I’m always hungry to score goals.”
The Sounders striker found himself in the silly season news lately as well, as a reporter in Montero’s native Colombia revealed on Saturday that European powers Liverpool and Ajax were potentially interested in a transfer.
Sounders general manager Adrian Hanauer declined to comment on the rumors on Saturday.
Jeremiah Oshan covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com and SB Nation.