May 28, 2011; Sandy, UT, USA; Seattle Sounders FC forward Fredy Montero passes the ball against Real Salt Lake during the second half at Rio Tinto Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Douglas C. Pizac-US PRESSWIRE

Fredy Montero; Goal Scorer or Goal Facilitator?

The question seems to pop up a lot more, now that I’m writing about soccer. I ask myself how do you value or quantify a contribution? I suppose with goal scorers it’s a little bit easier as well as relative and some what obvious, due to their position, that what they did that night was good, or if it was bad.

The problem with all that is sometimes I think we get stuck looking at single outcomes in that manner, as in what was “Good” or “Bad”. There can be an incredibly thin line between the two. Case-in-point (and really the whole idea behind this); Fredy Montero, is he a Hero or is he a Goat?

Would the Sounders had a different out come in the playoffs if Sigi had chosen to go with David Estrada up top with EJ, rather than Fredy? What if they had someone such as Chris Pontius? I think it’s alright to ask these question because it addresses not just weaknesses but it also brings to mind strengths of the people we are questioning.

It’s popular to sit back and criticized Fredy for not putting a ball in the goal over his playoff game experience and especially over the vital 4 games this year. But this is the same guy who started off the season looking the very best we had ever seen him and regardless of his form he didn’t net one until week 6.

I also understand that there was a difference between his performances at the beginning of the season and how he closed out. But there are also differences in who his supporting cast was and the iss

ues of trying to mesh together. Really, a lot can be said about how well he played in the second leg against RSL, to include his assist on Mario Martinez goal.

Judging someone that doesn’t put the ball in the net is subjective. You can talk about the lack of hustle and the perceived laziness as much as you can mention pass percentage, amount of crosses or recovered free balls. It’s hard to tell what exactly is good and what is bad.

I think the better question is did Fredy perform to the role that Sigi Schmid had expected out of him. I think that Sigi had bigger expectations from him down in LA and while it may not be fair due to the lack of help, I think he might have dropped the ball a little bit because he wasn’t creative and he simply allowed himself to be was overwhelmed. And I mean that… HE allowed himself.

There are players in this league that are good for the league and still belong and then there are players are that are good for the league and don’t belong. Robbie Keane is one of those players in my opinion. He just is so good, it’s unfair for most centre backs. Having Adam Johansson trying to cover him on the back post on a drive by Christian Wilhelmsson is a cruel joke. Likewise Fredy Montero is in that category.

The things that Montero is able to do is simply unbelievable at times. The problem is that at this level, in that moment, he was expected to do what his talent level dictates he is capable of doing and that’s dominating with the ball at his feet. Yet he had no deep runs, he had no shots on goal from distance (not even off frame), and his passes, while good percentage wise, were filled with backward drops back into the mid field. You could mention his only touching the ball 50 times over the course of the game–easily his lowest amount in any game he’s started as a Sounder–but it was also a game that Seattle won the battle of possession (56.4%).

And while we go back and forth about is he a goat or is that the circumstance ,we almost go blank with one of the top month performance in the season during August scoring 6 times and contributing an assist. Sure some of that is inflated due to the amazing game against Chivas USA, but then again you could point to the rare run of form Montero was in just after going through a terrible win less streak.

Sure, part of that time frame he was used kind of a “super sub” capacity. That was after another 8 game goalless streak. I think that we have to resolve to understanding that Fredy Montero is a streaky goal scorer. During the 2011 season he went two different months (May and August) without scoring a goal. Montero 2010 finished off without scoring in September or October.

Maybe we need to look less at him as a goal scorer and more of a facilitator of goals being scored, a play maker if you will that can be effective both on and off the ball. He’s not a traditional #9 by any right. But we saw towards the end of the season how well he worked with Eddie Johnson. Maybe with Christian Tiffert adjusted to the league and a healthy Steve Zakuani you may just see Fredy play a different role on this squad.

Assuming he’s back next year.




Tags: Adam Johansson Chris Pontius Christian Tiffert Christian Wilhelmsson David Estrada Eddie Johnson Fredy Montero Mario Martinez Robbie Keane Steve Zakuani