Stunning goal may give Sounders forward Montero an offensive kick-start
Sounders forward Fredy Montero ended a 1,083-minute scoreless drought Wednesday with a goal to remember. Will he keep it up in Saturday's 1:30 p.m. home game against Philadelphia?
Seattle Times staff reporter
Philadelphia @ Sounders FC, 1:30 p.m., NBC Sports
Latest from the Sounders FC blog
TUKWILA — Fredy Montero didn't do anything differently Wednesday morning.
The Sounders FC forward was stuck in an exasperating scoreless drought of over 1,000 minutes, but the routine was the same heading into action that night against the Los Angeles Galaxy.
No changed rituals or superstitions. No gimmicks.
"I was just thinking about the game ... and doing my best," said Montero.
The reward for the undaunted approach was a stunning strike in the 48th minute, ending the goal-less streak. But while Montero now is looking to continue that production in Saturday's 1:30 p.m. home game against Philadelphia, many are still talking about that breakthrough goal.
The play started when Montero gathered the ball near midfield and dribbled toward to the Galaxy goal. He had teammates available on both sides of the field, but as the L.A. defense backed off, the 24-year-old Colombian tried his luck from 35 yards.
The result was a wonder goal, driven powerfully into the top corner of the net past a helpless goalkeeper.
"Unbelievable" was how Sigi Schmid described it.
On the television broadcast, Kasey Keller lauded the "nastiness" of the wallop.
Some are calling it an early candidate for MLS Goal of the Year, and it has gone viral and already earned more than 400,000 views on YouTube.
Montero was less concerned about the quality of the score and more about ending a personal shutout that spanned 11 games in multiple competitions, 1,083 minutes and 197 days.
"I have to give the credit to my teammates," he said, "because after those (missed) chances the only thing they said was, 'Come on. It's coming. Keep trying. The next one you have to put in.' That was all I did — I tried to be focused in the game, and finally I could score that goal."
Schmid said he didn't put any extra pressure on Montero amid the drought, and the forward's other contributions to the team's franchise-best start kept many fans patient, as well.
"If a player's not getting chances, if he's not working, if he's not creating things, then you got to sit down and talk to him and say, 'Hey, this is starting to affect your play,' " said Schmid. "But I thought all through that period of time where he wasn't getting goals that he was still working. He was still getting chances. He was right on the doorstep."
2 to 3 weeks
Goalkeeper Michael Gspurning is expected to miss two to three weeks after an MRI on Thursday revealed muscle inflammation in his right hip. Gspurning had been dealing with hip discomfort for a couple weeks and left Wednesday's game at halftime due to the injury.
"I think there's an outside shot that he would be able to be back by the time we play Vancouver (on May 19) or possibly the week after," said Schmid.
Bryan Meredith will earn his first MLS start Saturday in place of Gspurning. Andrew Weber was cleared to play earlier this week and will serve as backup.
• Defender Zach Scott received a gift Friday in honor of his 10 seasons as a Sounder, dating to the United Soccer Leagues — a customized longboard (a larger version of a surfboard).
• CenturyLink Field's turf passed FIFA 2-Star testing, which means it has earned soccer's highest possible rating for an artificial surface. New FieldTurf was installed in February to replace a beaten-up surface that failed to meet 2-Star standards in 2011.
• Goalkeeper Josh Ford was placed on the disabled list with a right knee stress fracture. He has had trouble with his knee dating to last season and won't be eligible to return until June 16.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter: @joshuamayers