SEATTLE – Seattle striker Fredy Montero is MLS’ onion. Peel back a layer and you get the cocksure individualist capable of hitting a conscience-free 40-yard bomb. Peel back another and there’s the reserved, almost shy kid who doesn’t seem to know where or when to mix it up on the pitch.
Peel back a third, and you get the Montero that was on display Wednesday night in the Sounders’ 4-2 loss to Chelsea: a ruthless, goal-hungry sniper who never stops working on either side of the ball.
It’s the best layer, the version that attracted the interest of myriad European clubs who are always in search of some new goal-scoring talent. Montero wants those clubs to know that’s the real him – and that he’d listen if an offer were made.
“Yes, I would love to play there,” Montero said afterward when asked if he still has European aspirations. “I’m waiting for the right opportunity to come. Yeah, I’m ready to play in one of those leagues, I think so.”
It was a candid moment from the mercurial forward, who’s been known to run hot and cold in his three-plus years in MLS. On Wednesday, of course, he ran hot, scoring both of Seattle’s goals and setting up several other opportunities.
WATCH: Montero's beauty to equalize at 2-2
It caught the attention of both coaches. Chelsea’s Roberto Di Matteo called Montero “obviously very technical, able to operate between the lines, and I thought he caused us some problems.”
Sigi Schmid, meanwhile, said he liked to hear that Montero still has an eye on a move to one of Europe's biggest leagues. Yes, that means the Sounders coach would stand to lose his star striker, but it would also mean that said striker still has the hunger and desire to improve.
“I think you want every player to want to play at the highest level that they can possibly play,” Schmid explained. “I want each and every one of our players to achieve as much as they can possibly achieve. If they’re not hungry to get to the next level, and they’re just very content and satisfied, then maybe they lose a little bit of that edge.”
There were some questions about exactly that with Montero, who’d been off to a slow start numbers-wise this season. But he scored a crucial goal last weekend against New York, bringing his MLS career total to 39 over the past three and a half years.
“He’s ready to play at another level,” Schmid said. “It’s gotta be the right situation, it’s gotta be the right opportunity for him, and then you’ve gotta take advantage of it.”
There’s nothing on the docket immediately for Montero – “I wish” was his response when asked if there are any current suitors – but he has no doubt that he can make the leap to, say, the English Premier League.
“For sure, I think so,” Montero said. “MLS is a league that has some things similar to the Premier League … every single day in training, you see the speed of the game. I think you see the same in the Premier League.”