FCD's key against Seattle: Figure out how to stop Montero

Fredy Montero DALvSEA

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FRISCO, Texas – If FC Dallas want to beat Seattle on Sunday and head into the two-week international break with their playoff hopes still alive, they’ll have to do something they’ve rarely been able to since the Sounders came into the league: Stop Fredy Montero.

He has four goals and two assists in seven career games against Dallas, and his prowess in front of goal was never more apparent than the last time the two clubs met. On May 9, Montero subbed in at halftime of a scoreless match, and scored a pair of goals in the 68th and 71st minutes to earn the Sounders three points in Frisco.

“He only had two shots and scored two goals,” Schellas Hyndman told MLSsoccer.com on Friday. “What that tells you is he’s a natural finisher. He’s a smart, intelligent player who combines well, holds the ball up very well and the moment you forget about him is the moment he’ll hurt you.”

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And Montero has been consistently hurting MLS both this season and ever since he came into the league. The Colombian is the only player in the league with four straight double-digit goalscoring seasons, having already tallied 11 times in 2012. He comes to Frisco on Sunday as hot as he’s ever been, with goals in his last four MLS games, including a hat trick last time out in a virtuoso performance against Chivas USA.

“[Fredy] is just unpredictable in the best of ways,” defender George John said about the player he’s tasked with stopping. “You never really can tell what he’s going to do or where he’s going to go, which is great because it keeps defenders on their toes at all times. He’s got an eye for the goal and his record shows it.”

Having played 74 minutes in a steamy CCL game in Trinidad and Tobago against Caledonia AIA on Thursday night, it remains to be seen whether Montero will start or come on as a substitute on Sunday (7 pm, MLS Live), though neither option is particularly palatable for FCD. Not only did Montero have his two goals this season against Dallas coming off the bench, he has five goals in five substitute appearances this season.

For a Seattle team loaded with offensive riches, the task for the FC Dallas defense is a tall one as they look to shutout the Sounders and earn their ever win at home against Seattle.

“We know how intense it is,” midfielder Julian de Guzman said about Sunday’s game. “And these games are pretty much like finals for us.”