TUKWILA, Wash. – On paper, there might not be a more intriguing offensive quartet in MLS than Fredy Montero, Mauro Rosales, Álvaro Fernández and Eddie Johnson.
Assuming all goes according to plan, they will all be in the starting lineup together for the first time when the Seattle Sounders visit the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday (TSN/RDS2 in Canada, MLS LIVE in the US).
Up until now, the foursome has been limited to just about 15 minutes of playing time together. Even that only occurred when Fernández came on as a 58th-minute substitute in the Sounders' 1-0 loss to Real Salt Lake.
“We’re looking forward to seeing how we do the job together,” Fernández said through an interpreter. “Each one of us has different characteristics, but we’re hoping to take advantage of each of our strengths in the attack.”
At their best, all four players have proven to be capable scorers and playmakers. Despite all but Montero missing significant time due to injury, they’ve already combined for six goals and four assists this season.
Aside from their clear value going forward, Sounders manager Sigi Schmid wants to know which of them might be willing to alter their offensively focused style for the betterment of the team.
“I think the potential is very good,” Schmid said. “The question at the end of the day is, is the mix going to be right?
“I had a coach tell me a long time ago that in every part of the field you needed an playmaker, a player and a worker. Now, when you look at those four, not to take anything away, but who becomes the worker of those four? There’s definitely some players and some playmakers, for sure. Now you need to make sure you have that balance.”
At times, Montero has shown at least some willingness to take on a little added defensive responsibility. In contrast to his previous reputation, the Colombian has frequently checked back on defense this year and has shown much more of a complete game while the goals were slow to come.
Like his coach, Montero is cautious not to get too far ahead of himself when discussing the group’s potential.
“It’s going to be the first game we play together, so hopefully we can do good,” Montero said. “But we know we need time, we need more games. We will get the best of everyone. Hopefully we can do well this game and it will be good for us.”
Jeremiah Oshan covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com and SB Nation.