Fredy Montero, #17, the charismatic Columbian forward of the Seattle Sounders, has been transferred to a Columbian club team for the 2013 season.
This is not a good move for the Sounders or MLS.
Surely, the Sounders have been compensated well for Montero, but was it absolutely necessary to give Montero up for the season?
Montero joins David Beckham as premier players who are not returning to MLS for the 2013 season. They were two of the biggest names in a sport lacking big names.
Montero was known well in the U.S. because of his finishing ability as a goal-scorer for the Sounders. He is the all-time leading scorer for the Sounders and scored their very first goal in MLS history.
He will also be remembered for his play in leading the Sounders to three consecutive U.S. Open Cup titles. During this run, Montero joined Eddie Johnson to form one of the best scoring duos in MLS.
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In four seasons, Montero helped build the Sounders into a top national and international soccer brand. Fans of the Sounders are the largest crowds attending MLS matches. They are a phenomenon in a sport still teetering on American mainstream acceptance. They have had capacity crowds of more than 65,000 at Century Link Stadium in Seattle.
Montero will be missed. He had the skills to find the net with flashy play and fun, exciting celebrations.
He did it with both legs and many headers along the way to 50+ goals for the Sounders. It seemed he scored many of his goals to tie or take the lead in games.
His hair and good looks were part of his excitement. When he wants, he has the flowing locks, mohawk, ponytail, and hairband to accompany his Latin roots.
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MLS has a star-less problem. Montero’s loss accentuates the problem. Montero is not easily replaced.
Part of the problem is that Montero grew and made his image while playing in MLS. Few players have done this successfully. Chris Wondolowski, Landon Donovan, and Graham Zusi are other current players who join Montero on this list. Brek Shea was there, but fell off last season.
MLS needs more players in the funnel that bring style, play and image like Montero and Beckham.
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Seattle fans are in shock and pain about Montero’s exit and because of the impact of the Sounders on MLS, most MLS fans are disappointed with the news, as well. Montero is special and fans know it.
Howard Alperin is Managing Editor of AmericanizeSoccer.com
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