Looking for some flicker of hope on a dismal day, Sounders FC found it in the energy and potential of forward Miguel Montaño.
The 18-year-old made his Major League Soccer debut in the second half of Seattle’s 4-0 loss to Los Angeles on Saturday at Qwest Field.
“I think the only bright spot was Miguel,” second-year forward Steve Zakuani said. “He was great in his debut – young, energy – stuff like that is good to see. I thought that was a bright spot. Other than that, I don’t think anyone did well.”
Montaño came on in the 57th minute, replacing fellow Colombian Fredy Montero.
“He (Montero) gave me a lot of confidence entering the field,” Montaño said through an interpreter. “He just told me to just go onto the field with a lot of personality, and after the game he said I played well and did it with personality, so that was good. I would have hoped to play some minutes with him. It would have been great, but this was not the chance to do it, so hopefully another time we’ll have the opportunity.”
Montaño started training with the Sounders on March 17, officially signed his contract April 30, and was on the bench in uniform for the first time May 1 for the game with Columbus.
On Saturday, he had to wait a while for his first touches. But once his opportunities came, he showed speed, energy and aggressive creativity on the offensive third.
“I went onto the field with a lot of enthusiasm and I felt really good,” he said. “I tried really hard. It was my first game in the MLS and with the Sounders, and I felt very good about it. But of course a result didn’t come for us, so I hope for the next game we’ll do better.”
Sounders coach Sigi Schmid indicated that one of the ways he might try to achieve that is by making changes in his lineup before the Sounders’ next game, Saturday at New York.
And he sounded like a man who values what Montaño showed he can provide.
“I thought he played with energy,” Schmid said. “When you play with energy, you can make some things happen; so he was close and he was on the cusp. For him, first time out there, I’m sure nerves played a (part). He was probably one of our only positive things out there.”
Starting defensive midfielder Osvaldo Alonso left the game with a strained quadriceps in the 37th minute, when the Sounders were one goal down. He was replaced by Nathan Sturgis. “I thought Sturgis did fine,” Schmid said. “I don’t think that having Ozzie would have had an impact on the second or third goal.” ... The Sounders were called offsides 10 times. “A couple times we got called because guys were lazy coming back – those are not good offsides,” Schmid said. “A couple offsides weren’t offsides – bad calls by the linesmen. A couple of them, the ball was played too late.” ... The Sounders’ reserves will play a training game today. The team will be off Monday, return to practice Tuesday and Wednesday, and fly to New York on Thursday.