There was a familiar face at Seattle Sounders training on Monday. And for a brief minute, it looked like he was still suffering from a little bit of nostalgia.
Two-time MLS All-Star Fredy Montero dropped by to visit his old team after finishing as one of the Portuguese Primeira Liga’s top scorers last season. And it looks like he still bleeds Rave Green.
“I’m excited about the game,” he told reporters at the Sounders’ Starfire Sports Complex, looking ahead to Seattle’s US Open Cup match against San Jose on Tuesday (10:30 pm ET, streamed live on SoundersFC.com). “I hope we win tomorrow.”
Then the Sporting Clube de Portugal star smiled when he realized he used the first person for his old team.
“I’m with my family here,” he explained. “This is my second home, and I’m always happy to come here – always. I feel like I have to go say hi to my old teammates, too.”
It’s been five months since the Sounders sold Montero to Sporting permanently after his star turn for the Lisbon-based club while on loan since last July. The Colombian potted 13 goals for Sporting this past season, finishing as the club’s top scorer and helping them to second place in the Portuguese top flight.
Montero is clearly proud of his accomplishments in Europe, and will be able to fulfill one of his career dreams next season.
“Champions League is waiting for us this year,” he noted. “I’m really, really excited about playing Champions League. I remember when I used to watch those games and saying, ‘One day I’m going to play for one of the biggest teams in Europe,’ so this is my chance. I’m really happy about that.”
But he freely admits the Sounders hold a special place in his heart. Montero spent four seasons in Seattle – the club’s first four in MLS – and scored 60 goals through all competitions. He helped the Sounders hoist the Open Cup trophy three straight times from 2009-11, and the tournament is still dear to him. As are the relationships with his former teammates.
“I still have friends here,” he said. “For me, it’s like always looking back because I care about them. I know that they can still win the Open Cup this year … and hopefully this year they win the Supporters’ Shield. Last year, they [were] close. I always want the team to get victories and I’m happy for them because they are doing that right now.”
And then Montero spoke about another personal dream of his: Despite his early success in Europe, his story in Seattle is not over.
“That’s one of my dreams now,” he said. “I hope to be back playing for the Sounders.”