For Montero, the homecoming takes him back to the city where he became a star and team leader from Seattle's MLS expansion season of 2009 until his 2012 departure. The Colombian forward is still the club's all-time leading goal-scorer with 60 across all competitions and has maintained a close connection to the place that he considers his adopted home. Montero met his wife in Seattle, owns a coffee shop in the city and still has his house in the nearby suburb of Bellevue, all factors that made the prospect of a reunion a no-brainer when the opportunity presented itself.
"Why? Because Seattle is my home," Montero said on Friday. "I loved my time playing here. And of course there wasn't a second thought about having the opportunity to [come back]. I feel that I have more to give to the team and to help the team reach their goals and obviously it's a winning mentality, I would like to add my talent to that."
"I feel that all this experience that I've accumulated over the past years being overseas, playing on different continents, I'm able to use it in the best way."
It's a reunion that's about more than the sentimental value, though. The homecoming comes at a time when the Sounders are going to need Montero's goal-scoring prowess on the field, as standout winger Jordan Morris was recently lost for the foreseeable future with a torn ACL while on loan with Swansea City in the English Championship, likely leaving Seattle without one of its most dynamic attacking threats for all of 2021.
Montero's skillset isn't a like-for-like replacement for Morris, but he has remained plenty productive later into his career. He's spent three out of the past four years with Seattle's Cascadia rival Vancouver Whitecaps, racking up 26 goals and 14 assists in 81 games.
Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer has teased the possibility of a two-forward formation in his recent interviews, meaning a rotation that includes Montero, Will Bruin and Peruvian standout Raul Ruidiaz could be in the cards as Seattle adapt to life without Morris. Montero and Schmetzer are well acquainted from Montero's first stint with the club when Schmetzer was an assistant on the staff of the late Sigi Schmid.
"[Schmetzer] he was the one that came to Colombia and I had to sit with him and a translator to talk about when and how I was going to move to the USA for the first time," Montero said. "The years passed by and when I had to leave to Europe, obviously I kept in contact with him and his success was my success as well. He was winning trophies and I was happy for him. The way that he explained to me the team was going to play this year is with two strikers, and obviously it's going to be fun. I'm excited to start training with him and the coaching staff. I'm definitely looking forward to it."
Montero said that he had other offers, including in Colombia and in Europe, but that coming back to Seattle was always at the forefront of his mind. The hope, he said, is that his second stint with the club will mark the last time he has to pack his bags for a change of scenery in what has been a well-traveled career.
"I knew from the beginning I was going to be patient until this opportunity opened up and thank God it did," the 33-year-old said. "My family and I are really happy and excited to stay at home. Hopefully I can play three, four, five more years. I don't know. As long as my body keeps giving 100 percent and I still enjoy the game, I will be here."