Baer: Fredy Montero fills a missing piece for Vancouver Whitecaps FC

Fredy Montero is back.

One of the most exciting young players in the league during his early days with the Seattle Sounders, the Colombian is returning the Vancouver Whitecaps as a seasoned veteran. The now 31-year-old has 60 MLS goals over five seasons with the Sounders and 'Caps.

Vancouver fans saw a similar player to what Sounders fans witnessed south of the border when Montero played with the 'Caps in 2017. He's a player who is comfortable manipulating the channels and can find space in the box to add to his goal tally.

In Seattle, he was most successful playing in a two-striker system — most notably pairing with Eddie Johnson in 2012, when he had 13 goals and eight assists. In contrast, with Vancouver Carl Robinson had him playing mostly as a solo forward in a 4-3-3 formation in 2017, which was a team that mostly played in transition. That team scored 19 goals off of set pieces, the second-most in MLS, and Yordy Reyna arrived midseason to help push them to the playoffs (we'll skip over what happened there for the sake of 'Caps fans hearts).

If you look at Montero's statistics from 2017, it doesn't seem that he fell off that much from his time in Seattle. Opta began collecting MLS statistics in 2010.

Year Touches Per 90 Shots Per 90 Chances Created Per 90 Dribbles Attempted Per 90
2010 52.46 3.59 1.17 2.49
2011 50.83 4.09 1.70 1.38
2012 48.75 4.04 1.15 1.59
2017 37.56 3.09 1.25 1.45

Marc Dos Santos' squad in 2019 promises to be a little different. The roster has been a work in progress for much of the offseason but is finally coming in to view.  He's a coach that doesn't have a defined style, but as he told ExtraTime Radio last month, "I'm a coach that adapts tactically to the players that we have."

The Whitecaps mostly played in a 4-3-3 during their preseason trip to Hawaii, but with Montero and new Young Designated Player Joaquin Ardaiz now in place, a two-striker formation could be something Dos Santos tries. The signings of Lucas Venuto, Lass Bangoura and hints of putting Reyna on the wing indicate that a system that employs wingers is likely to be in the offing. Take a look at two possible lineups for the 'Caps below.

Bottom line: Montero gives Dos Santos a player he can count on. He's someone who can tell the locker room what it's like to go through the grinding MLS season. If he delivers a season similar to the one he had in 2017, this will undoubtedly be a winning signing.

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