Sounders FC

Despite key goal, Montero’s status as Sounders starter still in doubt

Fredy Montero thinks he should be in the FC Sounders’ starting lineup.

Coach Sigi Schmid seems not to have decided.

What everyone agrees is that Montero made the most of his brief opportunity Saturday in New York, when he came on in the 78th minute and seven minutes later touched home the game’s only goal.

“It was a little bit of going back to basics, rolling up our sleeves,” Schmid said. “I thought we did a better job marking inside the 18-yard boxes. Obviously, Fredy Montero finished his goal very, very well.”

However, as the Sounders returned to training Tuesday, Schmid wasn’t ready to say if Montero would be back in the starting lineup at noon Saturday when San Jose visits Qwest Field.

“I thought he came on and showed very good character and scored a great goal,” Schmid said.

“The effort that he put out at the end of the game was tremendous. That has to come out in practice, as well, on a daily basis, and every time he steps on the field that has to come out.”

Montero led the Sounders with 12 goals and four game-winning goals in 2009, when he was selected Major League Soccer newcomer of the year.

For most of his time in Seattle, there has been no question about Montero starting. The question has been how long he would stick around before moving on to a club in a more prestigious league.

However, over the first eight games this season, Montero scored only two goals. Worse, he frustrated Schmid with a seeming reluctance to play aggressively in front of the opponent’s goal or to get fully involved defensively.

Finally, after a 4-0 home loss to Los Angeles on May 15, Schmid promised changes. And he followed through Friday, telling Montero that he would be among the reserves in New York.

“I’m not happy on the bench,” Montero said Tuesday through an interpreter. “I don’t like being on the bench. … I don’t agree that I should be on the bench. But those are the decisions that (Schmid makes).

“He and I have a really good relationship. We have good communication, and I respect the decisions that he makes as a coach, and I’ll be where he needs me to be.”

Sanna Nyassi started in Montero’s place against the Red Bulls, and Schmid thought the second-year forward made the most of his opportunity.

“I think it was probably Sanna’s best game for the Sounders,” Schmid said. “ ... He offered an attacking threat for us throughout the game and helped us out defensively as well.”

TIDE LOSES

Bim Ogunyemi scored the lone goal as the Portland Timbers development squad beat the Tacoma Tide, 1-0, in front of a crowd of 2,200 in a Tuesday matinee at PGE Park in Portland.

ADDED TIME

Two familiar faces rejoined training Tuesday: veteran defender Jeff Parke, who was originally taken in the 2009 expansion draft but didn’t sign with the club until Thursday; and rookie midfielder/forward Michael Seamon, who had trained with the Sounders in spring before returning to Villanova to complete his degree in criminal justice. … MLS has added a second assist on Montero’s goal, belatedly crediting defender Tyrone Marshall, who quickly played the ball to Brad Evans, who sent a floating pass to Montero. … The Sounders will learn their CONCACAF Champions League preliminary-round opponent today.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Don Ruiz, 253-597-8808 don.ruiz@thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer

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