Miguel Montaño’s Sounders career got off to an ominous, if not comical, start.
As the 18-year-old walked up the sideline to check into the game, he looked back to the bench to receive some final instructions. With his head turned, the assistant referee crashed into the young player, knocking them both down and sending the referee into the field of play, where he collided with two players.
“He hit me. It was not my fault!” Montaño joked after the match.
Luckily for the newcomer, things got better from there.
If one positive was to be taken from Seattle’s 4-0 drubbing against Los Angeles, unquestionably it was the play of Montaño. The attacker came on in the second half of Saturday’s game and provided a spark on the left side of the field. He also provided energy, a quality that the Sounders had lacked up to that point.
“I think the only bright spot was Miguel, who was brilliant in his debut,” Steve Zakuani said. “That was good to see. Other than that, I don’t think anyone did well.”
Montaño got an extended look in the match and looked comfortable with the pace of Major League Soccer. The Colombian, who bears a striking physical resemblance to Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo, played on the left side of the midfield. His best qualities were on display—his excellent speed, his solid technical ability and his hunger to influence the match.
In his 33 minutes, Montaño earned several touches after initially having a hard time finding the ball.
“The first ten minutes were difficult,” Montaño said through a translator. “I was not getting too many balls in the position I was playing. After that I was able to engage the game and even had some opportunities.”
With Sigi Schmid unhappy with his team’s performance after the Galaxy game, and thanks to a handful of injuries, Montaño may get another chance soon. Michael Fucito’s knee injury forced him to the disabled list Friday. With Nate Jaqua and Pat Noonan still on the shelf with injuries, Montaño is looking like a decent option for next week’s match against New York.
Despite the loss, Montaño was happy to see time in the first match in which he was eligible. Despite training with the Sounders since March 17, Montaño did not become an official player until he was placed on the active roster on April 30. Sure enough, in the first match where he was available for selection he found the field.
“It was my first game in MLS and with the Sounders and I felt very good about it,” Montaño said after the match. “I tried to do my best, but of course the result didn't come with us, so I hope that for next game we will do better. That was disappointing for me."