Forward Montero will be first to play 100 games for Seattle franchise
Fredy Montero, one of the leading figures in Sounders FC's extraordinary success, is expected to play his 100th regular-season game Saturday in Montreal.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Sounders FC @ Montreal, 4:30 p.m., KONG
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TUKWILA — In some ways, there has been a countdown to departure since the day Fredy Montero signed with Sounders FC.
Players that good, that young aren't supposed to stay in MLS for very long as leagues around the world beckon.
Not even Montero initially thought he'd still be in Seattle for Year 4.
"But when I came here I was really young. I was 21 years old, you know?" the forward said upon reflection at the start of training camp.
While outside interest in Montero remains, as does his desire to play at the highest level, the talented Colombian has felt more at home with each passing year. And if the 24-year-old plays, as expected, in Montreal at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, he will become the first Sounder to reach the milestone of 100 regular-season games.
General manager Adrian Hanauer said Montero has been one of the leading figures in the expansion franchise's exceptionally successful start. The individual growth has been noticeable, too.
"He's still a kid, but he's turned into a young man here in Seattle," said Hanauer, also a part owner. "So the games, the goals, the assists, the entertainment and the quality of play have been fantastic, but it's also been very gratifying to see him mature and turn into a nice young man, assimilate into the community, learn English, marry an American woman and sort of lay roots down here.
"You never know about the future, but I'll be happy if he plays out his entire career here in Seattle. I'd also be happy for Fredy if the right opportunity came along for him and the club in some other way."
Montero has a franchise-best 38 goals in MLS and 49 when including the U.S. Open Cup and CONCACAF Champions League. He also has Sounders league records in assists (29), shots (350) and shots on goal (131).
Such production led to a big raise before the 2011 season, which made Montero the highest-paid player on the team and a designated player with a $600,000 salary.
Coach Sigi Schmid put Montero in a class of his own when it comes to age, impact and consistency.
"I don't think the league has had a young, DP-type player like that," Schmid said. "I think the last one you could maybe compare him to is Carlos Ruiz. Carlos came to me at the L.A. Galaxy. He was 23 at the time, and ended up scoring like 24 goals. He had a few more ups and downs after that, and I think Fredy has been pretty consistent in those years, but usually the foreign guys that are coming in are older players, more experienced players, and their impact is of a shorter duration."
Montero, after a slow start to the season, was red hot in May with six goals and three assists in MLS and Open Cup games. But another figure — 100 games — stands out, as well.
"That's a lot," said Montero. "It means a lot to me and I really care about this team. Every single year I'm here I appreciate more the players, I appreciate more the team — all the fans. I really enjoy playing in Seattle, and hopefully I can do it for more and more years."
• Rookie defender Andrew Duran was loaned to the Atlanta Silverbacks of the second-tier NASL. Seattle's first-round pick in January's MLS SuperDraft, Duran hasn't played a game outside of the reserve league. The Silverbacks announced the loan was for the season, but a Sounders spokesman said there's "no exact time frame."
• Sounders unavailable due to injury include goalkeeper Michael Gspurning (hip), defenders Patrick Ianni (back), Leo Gonzalez (quad) and Adam Johansson (hamstring), and forward/midfielder David Estrada, who had successful surgery on a broken left foot. Midfielder Osvaldo Alonso will serve the second of a two-game suspension.
• Seattle is unbeaten in its past 10 road games (7-0-3), the second-longest streak in MLS history. FC Dallas boasts the record with a 12-game streak in 2010.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or firstname.lastname@example.org