TUKWILA, Wash. – Of Fredy Montero’s four seasons in MLS, it's easy to make the case that 2012 has been his most tumultuous.
The Colombian opened the season by going scoreless in his first five games, hasn’t always looked comfortable playing alongside new teammate Eddie Johnson and has found himself coming off the bench with alarming regularity in recent months.
Despite all that, Montero is right on pace with his career norms. His goal on Saturday was his eighth of the season. It was also the third straight game and the fourth time in five that he has scored.
Montero opens scoring vs. 'Caps
“We said it at the beginning, goalscoring is a situation where a guy like him or like Eddie, it’s a little bit streaky,” Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said on Wednesday. “We said he’d find his goals and he’s found his goals lately. He’s right where he’s been in every season for us.”
That doesn’t mean he’s gotten there the same way. Unlike previous runs, Montero’s recent goalscoring form has come while mostly in a substitute role. Of Montero’s last four goals, three have come in games he did not start.
Schmid has said there are no plans to permanently make Montero some sort of super-sub, but Montero admitted there are some benefits to coming off the bench.
“I like to be focusing on what the defense is doing and try to find those spaces they are leaving in the back,” Montero said. “There was a free kick and I was at the right spot. Jeff Parke gave me a good assist.”
Montero celebrated the goal by raising one leg and pointing to the skies. It was a pose inspired by Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez, who did something similar following his perfect game last week.
“I was driving to the stadium and as usual I was looking at my Twitter,” Montero said of the inspiration. “One of the fans said I should celebrate by 'Felixing.' I replied and said that’s a good idea. After the goal, I remembered that and just started to do it.”
For his tribute, Montero was invited to throw out the first pitch in Sunday’s Mariners game.
“I feel good because at least I put the ball in the catcher’s hand,” said Montero, who took the opportunity to strike the pose again. “I was really nervous. It is always a weird thing when you do something you don’t do often. At the end of the day, I was really happy and it was a good experience for me.”
Jeremiah Oshan covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com and SB Nation.