Everyone could see that D.C. United goalkeeper Josh Wicks stepped on Sounders FC forward Fredy Montero in the U.S. Open Cup final last week.
However, television angles didn’t show exactly where Montero was stomped. He was asked Monday, after the Sounders completed their first training session since that Wednesday win.
Montero answered by rolling up the right leg of his practice shorts. The exact spot remained clearly marked by two blood-red scrapes along his thigh – one about 4 to 5 inches long, the other 2 to 3 inches – both looking as bright as if they had been applied by a crimson felt marker.
Wicks was immediately sent off with a red card, and he has since apologized. However, Montero said he still has no idea what caused the incident.
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“There wasn’t really anything prior to that,” Montero said in Spanish, with teammate Taylor Graham interpreting. “From my side, I was just trying to score a goal. I had had a couple of chances and was just trying to put this away. … I scored the goal, I was really happy, and I was trying to get up. All of a sudden, I felt his studs in my thigh. I didn’t understand why it happened. I wanted to help the team win, score another goal and put the game away.”
The goal – Montero scored on a rebound after Wicks deflected a shot by midfielder Freddie Ljungber – gave Seattle a 1-0 lead it never surrendered.
After kicking the ball, Montero’s foot apparently struck the sprawled Wicks, and Montero tumbled to the ground. Wicks got up first, and while walking back to the goal mouth he seemed to intentionally stomp his foot into Montero’s thigh.
D.C. United released a statement that said Wicks’ actions were “unacceptable” and that he will be “subject to internal discipline.” However, no discipline has been announced, and Wicks started in goal when United returned to league play Saturday against FC Dallas.
The red card normally would have kept Wicks out of the next game, but this incident happened in the final of a tournament run by the U.S. Soccer Federation and is unrelated to the Major League Soccer regular season.
Sounders coach Sigi Schmid declined to say Monday if additional punishment is warranted.
“That’s something for U.S. Soccer to deal with. It’s something for United to deal with,” Schmid said. “It’s unfortunate that it happened. Sometimes in the heat of the moment you do things that you’re not always happy about.
“But it’s their issue, it’s their concern. I’ve got enough of my own concerns.”
Schmid’s primary concern this week is his team’s return to RFK Stadium for its regular season match with United.
With six regular season games remaining, Seattle has 34 points in the standings – just good enough for playoff qualification if the season ended today. United has 33 points, one short of playoff position.
With postseason hopes hanging in the balance this weekend, Montero said he won’t be concerned about any payback, other than trying to win once again.
“For me, it’s not an individual thing at all,” he said. “It’s all based on the team, and what I want to do is help the team win. I was able to do that in an important cup final, and now it’s just a matter of doing the same thing in an important game this weekend.”
Sounders older than 30 were allowed to skip the Labor Day drills. Everyone is expected back today, and most everyone is expected to be physically able to perform. However, Ljungberg will not be eligible to play Saturday due to yellow-card accumulation. … General manager Adrian Hanauer said no English Premier League club has contacted him about acquiring Ljungberg after this MLS season. Ljungberg has not been available to the Northwest media since rumors of his possible loan to Arsenal appeared in the British press last week. However, Ljungberg’s agent said by e-mail Monday that Ljungberg is focused on the MLS playoffs.
Don Ruiz, 253-597-8808