Fredy Montero: I want to stay with Vancouver Whitecaps FC, even after "tough year" in MLS

Fredy Montero - Vancouver Whitecaps - tight shot

VANCOUVER, B.C. – The 2019 MLS season was a highly disappointing one for Vancouver Whitecaps striker Fredy Montero.

The Whitecaps attack struggled, managing only 37 goals throughout the year, the second worst offensive output across the league and only better than expansion side FC Cincinnati. Montero led the team with eight goals, but it was the Colombian's worst season stats-wise of his six in MLS and the only one where he's failed to reach double figures.

Understandably, frustration reigned.

"It's been a tough year, personally for me and as an organization," Montero told "[Was there] frustration after the games? I would say yes. Not in every single game, of course, but I always, as a striker or even when I'm playing as a winger, I like to have possession of the ball. There were a few games where I couldn't even shoot on goal, so that's really frustrating for me as a striker."

Montero clearly wasn't alone. A quick look at the Whitecaps goalscorers for the season shows Yordy Reyna with seven goals, before a considerable drop off to the other attackers on the team. Tosaint Ricketts, a veteran signed in early August, showed some spark at times, and Homegrown Player Theo Bair had some bright moments, but Joaquin Ardaiz was scoreless during his loan from Swiss side FC Chiasso.

The lack of production up top was hard to ignore.

"It didn't work when we wanted to play 4-3-3 and the strikers that we had this season, we scored the least amount of goals in our career," Montero said. "We had a striker [Ardaiz] who didn't score a single goal throughout the season, which is not good for your career."

Montero was asked to play a number of different positions as the season wore on, finding himself on the wing, as a deeper playmaker and as a super-sub in the last few games.

Whitecaps head coach Marc Dos Santos has indicated that Montero will not be the striker to lead the Vancouver attack next season. So would the 32-year-old be content with a reduced role or embrace being deployed differently?

"If he's saying my role is going to change next year as a No. 10 or as a second striker, I would be happy to play there," Montero said. "I have no problem. I know what I'm capable of. Obviously, it's about the formation. 

"I don't see myself playing 4-3-3 and there is no space for a second striker. If we play 4-2-3-1, that's different talk. So it depends on the new formation that we're going to approach next year."

With the nature of MLS, Montero knows he could find himself on the trading block. Dos Santos talked recently about utilizing assets that may be viewed with a higher value elsewhere in the league than Vancouver. That could apply to Montero, who will certainly be an attractive option for a number of MLS clubs. 

But after six seasons in the Pacific Northwest, four in Seattle and two in Vancouver, a sudden trade out east is not what Montero expects. Even still, Montero reflected briefly on his time in Seattle, where his MLS tenure began as they entered the league in 2009 before capping the decade with the club’s second MLS Cup win on Sunday.

"I don't see myself going to a different place," Montero said. "I know I have a past in one of the best organizations in the league [Seattle], and I'm a legend I would say. I don't like to call [myself] that, but I know if I have to go somewhere, the other coast is not my final destination."