Sounders trying to end playoff drought of Fredy Montero
Sounders FC's career leading scorer Fredy Montero has gone 603 playoff minutes without a goal.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Sounders FC @ Real Salt Lake,
6:30 p.m., ESPN2
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TUKWILA — Fredy Montero is by far the leading scorer in Sounders FC history, but he has no goals in seven playoff games.
The forward also is the franchise's career leader in shots, but he didn't record a single one Friday in the scoreless first leg of a Western Conference semifinal against Real Salt Lake.
So what happens to Montero in the postseason?
Well, defenses lock in on him — that's for sure. Since Seattle's opening game in 2009, Montero has been the focal point of the Sounders' attack with his unique combination of craftiness, flair and technical ability. As a result, opposing teams' game plans have often started there.
But extra defensive attention only carries weight for so long.
"Now the question is, 'Does he have to do a little bit more at times?' " said coach Sigi Schmid.
"That's only a question that he can answer at the end of the day. I think Fredy's effort and his desire to help the team is there. He's just a little bit snakebit."
Montero, who does claim one playoff assist, also insists effort isn't the issue in his postseason scoring drought of 603 minutes.
"I mean, I always try my best," he said. "I just try to do 100 percent of what I can."
In an airtight series against RSL, Montero said his drought could end with one goal in the winner-take-all second leg of the playoff series Thursday at Rio Tinto Stadium.
"We just need one goal," he said. "That's all we need to do there: Defend and score one goal."
Montero has gone in and out of slumps before. He went a stretch of seven games without a goal from the end of May to early July — a spell that saw him benched briefly. But he responded to finish with a personal-best 13 goals for the season.
His 47 career goals are nearly triple the Sounders' next top scorer (Steve Zakuani, 17), and same can be said for his 411 shots (Osvaldo Alonso, 147).
Fortunately for Montero, help is coming.
Eddie Johnson, who led the Sounders with 14 goals this season, practiced Monday and is set to play the second leg of the playoff series Thursday after missing the first game with an adductor strain. Schmid said the Montero-Johnson duo is especially formidable because they feed off each other.
"We've always said that when Eddie and Fredy are on the field together it helps them both, because you can't key on one or the other," Schmid said. "With just Fredy being out there, obviously they were able to key on Fredy a little bit more."
Rosales in doubt
Mauro Rosales could miss the game Thursday after the midfielder appeared to suffer a hamstring injury in the final minutes Friday.
Rosales, who missed all of the 2011 playoffs with a knee injury, did not practice Monday as he was being evaluated by the team's medical staff.
"We have to look at what everything says, what the medical people say, and then we'll have an idea exactly if he'll be able to go," Schmid said.
• Assistant coach Brian Schmetzer interviewed in 2011 to be head coach of the Montreal Impact, but he has not been contacted about the job since it opened up again. The team and Jesse Marsch agreed to part ways last week.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or email@example.com