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Sounders sign Colombian prospect Montaño

With the core of the team secured for the 2010 season, Seattle Sounders FC have cast an eye to their future by adding 18-year-old prospect Miguel Montaño. The Colombian striker did not practice Tuesday but is expected to take the field Wednesday.

General manager Adrian Hanauer envisions Montaño as a striker or outside midfielder, but made it clear that the Colombian isn’t expected to have an immediate impact like fellow Colombian Fredy Montero. Due to his youth, the club views Montaño as a prospect with tremendous upside.

“He has enormous potential,” Hanauer said. “We liked the idea of bringing young players in. We think he can learn a lot from guys like Fredy Montero, Freddie Ljungberg and Steve Zakuani.”

The Montaño acquisition comes after Sounders FC was linked to the pursuit for another youngster, US U-17 international Luis Gil. The club believes the stable environment and veteran leadership in the Sounders FC locker room is ideal for developing younger players. There are already two Colombians on the Sounders roster -- striker Montero and defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado.

Hanauer said Montaño had been on his radar for a few months, after being introduced by an agent who works extensively linking South American players with Major League Soccer. When Hanauer and technical director Chris Henderson traveled to Argentina in February, they saw Montaño in a training session with Argentine second division side Quilmes Atlético Club. Even though Montaño doesn’t have extensive first-team experience -- he was playing with the reserves at Quilmes -- Hanauer and Henderson saw something they liked.

“We were impressed enough with his performances in games and with him as a person to bring him up here,” Hanauer said. “It’s a shot.”

According to Hanauer, the Colombian is still growing but can shoot with both feet, has tremendous top line speed, and is technically “tidy.” He faces an adjustment period to withstand the physical rigors of the MLS season, but Hanauer is confident his frame can absorb the punishment. 

“He’s a quality young player,” Hanauer said. “When you compare him to some of the other American 18-year-olds, he stacks up quite well in terms of physical attributes.”

While Hanauer said Montaño will not be called upon to play a major role this season, the youngster could see time up front, possibly during Seattle’s matches in the U.S. Open Cup and CONCACAF Champions League.