BY Stanley Holmes 06:59PM 04/06/2011

Montero now unlikely to be back against Fire

Striker Fredy Montero has a small window to be healthy enough to make the Sounders’ starting 11 Saturday against Chicago. If he is, it could be the first time that Coach Sigi Schmid can select from a full squad.

Sounders striker Fredy Montero. (Drew McKenzie/Sports Press Northwest)

The Seattle Sounders have been hoping to have forward Fredy Montero available to play against the Chicago Fire this Saturday despite having a fractured wrist.

But that now looks increasingly unlikely, said Coach Sigi Schmid, who spoke to reporters Thursday following practice at Qwest Field.

“The chance of him (Montero) playing on Saturday is unlikely at this stage because there is still some swelling in there,” Schmid said. “They want to make sure that there is still no infection into the wound.”

Montero was involved in some light training today, but he did not participate in the squad scrimmages.  “He’s able to do some light stuff and we had him out here doing a little bit of stuff before, but right now unless there is a miraculous change tomorrow, it doesn’t look likely,” Schmid said.

Don’t rule out Montero entirely — there’s still 48 hours of healing to occur — but if he’s unable to play then Mauro Rosales likely will fill the withdrawn striker role against Chicago. He performed ably in that role against San Jose, adding an assist and creating all kinds of havoc in the right channel.

But it could be someone else partnering with O’Brian White up top — though Schmid wouldn’t say. It’s clear Schmid is tweaking the line up for the Chicago match. Expect Rosales to be on the pitch — but where he might be playing is a tad unclear.

“I thought in the first half last week offensively we played alright but we are still looking at possibilities and maybe some lineup changes,” Schmid said. Overall offensively I thought we did alright and I thought Rosales had a good 45 minutes, for sure.”

It also appears Erik Friberg is much healthier and is slated to start along with Brad Evans, so that could leave designated player Alvaro Fernandez on the sidelines — again. Referring to an Evans-Friberg partnership, Schmid said: “I think there will be a relationship that will develop between those two where they become pretty interchangeable. The more they understand each other and when to do that, the more dangerous they become.”

Montero, who has scored 22 goals in his first two seasons, has not practiced  until Thursday.

Montero missed the 2-2 draw at San Jose last week following surgery on his right wrist. Though goals have been a bit of a premium until the San Jose game, it’s not for lack of trying. The Sounders have been averaging 16 shots per game.

Montero’s addition could help convert those shots into goals. The Colombian has been very active and creative when he’s played but has yet to bury one. He is certainly due. He has taken 14 shots so for, and placed 9 on frame. Montero still leads the league in shots and shots on goal.

With nearly everyone available for the Fire — except forward Mike Fucito –  it could be the first time this season that Coach Sigi Schmid can select from a full squad. If Montero is healthy, fans might see Seattle’s strongest lineup for the first time this season.

“It’s good that we have so many guys healthy and it would good to get Montero in the mix,” said Chris Henderson, Sounders technical director. “And then we can really look at everyone for selection.”

The youngest Sounders players are collecting balls and bagging them up after training at Qwest Field / photo by Kyle Scholzen

Meanwhile, Henderson acknowledged the Sounders ownership is looking at foreign players to bolster the squad. They’ve been looking at forwards and quality players in other positions, he said. It’s possible Seattle could be quite active during the summer transfer window — but it appears nothing is imminent before the close of the mid-April transfer deadline.

“Yes, there is a good chance of that,” Henderson said.  “It’s timing for players. It’s getting the right guy who will be a good fit for our team. There is that chance for sure before the end of the summer window…We are looking at a lot of positions.”

Looking for a proven goal scorer is the obvious position but Henderson said that also depends on the form of the current players. He says players have been creating their chances and working hard to reverse the current 0-2-2 record. Sometimes, it just takes some luck, or continued belief.

The statistics bear this out. Seattle leads the league in shots (64), shots on goal (36), fouls committed (54), offside (15) and corner kicks (25).  O’Brian White is second (13). Montero (10) and White (9) are also first and second in shots on goal. Erik Friberg is fifth in MLS with 13 corner kicks.

But the team is aware the pressure is on.

“We’ve got to get ourselves out of where we’re at right now,” Henderson said. “And I think if we can get a win, it will really help the team confidence and mentality.”

Sounders forward Nate Jaqua. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

One of the team’s strikers who is itching to contribute is Nate Jaqua. He has been coming back from injury and put in 30 minutes against San Jose. He’s behind White for the moment, but says he’s ready if called upon. He’s as healthy as he’s been since the first season.

“I’m feeling good. Every practice is better,” Jaqua said. “I’m not too worried about pushing it minutes-wise. It’s a matter of getting that fitness back.”

Jaqua says he’s aware of the pressure to score more goals and win some games. As a forward, the pressure to score is always present, he said. But he’s confident the goals will start coming.

“It’s always out there if you’re a forward,” he said. “It’s out there every game. You just keep plugging away doing what you do best. Crash the ball hard. Fight for the little ones. Maybe it’s the scrappy one you get first. then you score nicer goal.

“It’s one of those things where you keep battling away. They’re going to come,” he said.  “We’re a good team, we have to believe in that and keep fighting.”

Facing off against the Chicago Fire at Qwest Field could be the right moment to turn this belief into goals and find the first victory of the season. The Sounders have never lost to the Fire. The club drew twice during the inaugural 2009 season and swept last year’s series, thanks to a pair of late game-winning goals.

Under second-year coach Carlos de los Cobos, the Fire (1-0-1) got off the mark with a draw at FC Dallas and a 3-2 home win over Sporting Kansas City. Chicago’s off week was partially filled by a U.S. Open Cup play-in win, 2-1, over Colorado on March 30.

Schmid’s take on Chicago: “They have made a lot of changes. They have two completely new forwards in the two Uruguayans up front. They brought in a new center back. Corey Gibbs is new as well to the group. (Jali) Anibaba is a draft pick. (Gonzalo)Segares returned last year. (Michael) Videira is a guy they picked up. So it’s really a team that has changed like eight of their 11 starting positions. So far they have gotten off to a good start.”

But Schmid expects only one outcome on Saturday — getting the first win of the season.


YourThoughts

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  • Soggyblogger

    Wow. Far out. Awesome, dude. I laughed out loud three or four times as I read this article. I was wondering if/when you would make the effort to write like that again after reading three or four of your barroom chats with friend Steve that you published for reasons I couldn’t fathom.

    You have restored my faith in you and this site. Write on. 

    • Artthiel

      As long as you love us, we’re here.
       

  • GoDucks

    “formerly arrogant Huskies.”

    Really?

    • Michp

      I’m still arrogant. :) Go Dawgs!

    • Artthiel

      0-12 does a lot for the rise of humility.

  • Sara Orr

    Phil Knight attended the University of Oregon as an athlete.  He graduated and continued on with his education at Stanford.  He is generous with the money he has earned.  Both Stanford and Oregon have received large funds from him.  HIs dedication to the schools that helped him reach his professional goals is to be admired.  Nike money does flow into the Athletic department at the University of Oregon as many Nike employees graduated from that school.  How Phil Knight chooses to spend his money is his choice.  Many colleges in America have facilities named after large money donors.  The fact that Oregon has a former athlete contributing to the school is something to be proud of.  

    • Artthiel

      Never said he did anything wrong. But he is the unappointed, unelected, unpaid king of the university. Which is good and bad. Ask anyone from feudal Europe over the last 1,500 years. 

  • Mssearch

    Art – Psst, Art…you spilled a little purple Kool Aid on your beard.  Phil Knight has supported his alma mater(s) as is his right, but he’s never caught, thrown, or shot a ball @ Autzen and or MattCourt…..swell that the Huskies dominated the rivalry in the early 90′s, but irrelevant to the current players who were infants at the time.  You sound very similar to the lost souls demonizing their plight as 99%ers, blaming others for one’s lack of achievement.

    • Artthiel

      Never said Knight did anything wrong. My point was that college ball is all about the money, and Oregon has it. So does Okla State with T Boone Pickens. Wouldn’t that be wonderfully underscored if they met in the BCS title game? 

  • Chris

    I was a student at the UO in the early 80s.  During my 4 years in Eugene the football team won a total of 14 games, finishing 9th in the conference standing twice.  In those days sports writers from the big cities would write about how Oregon and Oregon State didn’t belong in the Pac-10, that they should leave for the WAC, because they simply were never going to be able to compete with the likes of Washington, USC and the other big schools.

    There’s an old saying in military circles about how generals from the winning side are always fighting the next war with their winning strategy from the previous war, and that losing generals have to come up with something new for the next war…or they’ll continue being the losing generals.

    With that analogy in mind, here in the NW it’s fairly clear that the Huskies have been stuck in 1991 for quite a while.  And it’s also clear that the Ducks have NOT been stuck there.  As long as Husky fans are complaining about Phil Knight, I guess that means the Ducks are winning.  Ouch!! 

    • Arttthiel

      Absolutely true that the Huskies were stuck in the 90s, from tactics to facilities. They’re playing catch-up. As a former Huskies coach once said, scoreboard, baby. But now they appear, with the investment in coaches and facilities, to be joining the arms race. 

  • Michp

    Phil Knight owns Oregon and should not be long till we get the official Phil Knight U name change. Oregun has no tradition so they market with laughable uniforms. Enjoy your 15 seconds of fame Oregun, soon you will be back where you belong…chasing owls in trees. Washington has decades and decades of tradition and will never sell out to market a sneaker company. Go Dawgs!

  • Cgerv25

    Great article Art, you nailed as you usually do!

  • #7inarow

    Huck the Fuskies

  • Rocklanw

    You better get Mr. blue collar Romar busy because the way we’re recruiting basketball we will be all over you Lil doggies just like football real soon. Keep chasin your tails cuz The Quack Attack ballin style is comin for ya!!!

                                                GO DUCKS!!!!!!

  • Artthiel

    The nation is full of admirers of shiny objects. Like the new UO arena. If UW had the money, they’d re-do Hec Ed a similar  way.

  • WW Duck

    Rock on Rock!
    Give Matthew “KNIGHT” Arena & Dana Altman 3 more years of recruiting and Ol’ Mr. Romar may hoping the the Sonics……Oops, make that the Oklahoma City Thunder are looking for a new head coach!

  • cruddly

    I am surprised that you little Quacks failed to mention the Trail Blazers when attempting to rub it in about us losing the Sonics.  I mean it’s probably the only professional sports franchise the state of Oregon will ever have, other than the Timbers, your minor league soccer team.  Maybe Knight will buy you guys another sports franchise, unless he’s too tapped out paying all the bills for his Duck teams. 
    I have a feeling that Nike won’t have the same amount of success with basketball as they have had with football, in the Greater Eugene area.  Your new arena with the grotesque floor might knock the socks off a few recruits, but there will always be enough talent to go around in the Pac 12.   Rather than dreaming of eventually establishing something close to a rivalry with the Huskies, you and Knight  should worry more about getting past the Beavers.  Go Dawgs!

  • Duxfan

    The ducks beat the huskies in their first ever meeting at Matt Court. So far so good right?

  • George

    Hilarious.  I love reading the delusions of Duck fans.  Your splash paint court is a laughing stock, and your freshman class is the best you’ve had in over a decade yet it’s still not as good as Washington’s.  Oregon can have all the flashy facilities they want, but UW has one asset they can’t match:  Lorenzo Romar.  As long as he’s here, Husky basketball isn’t going anywhere.

  • PortlandFan

    UW basketball has one built-in advantage the Ducks can never overcome…the Seattle high school area hoops talent. i live in Portland and have a healthy respect for UO and their program, but the Portland high school hoops scene (basically Jefferson High) is no match for Seattle area talent. UO may be able to recruit competitively against Romar on a national level, but the Huskies will always have superior basketball talent in their own backyard.

  • Pixel13

    Not only does Unca Phil have to pay the up-front bills, but he’s got to hire several busloads of lawyers for the dux.  Oh, and bribe the NCAA to look the other way.

    “Lack of institutional control”–well, with PK in control, the institution doesn’t have much say, does it?

  • Godux97

    Um…The Timbers are major league, just like your Sounders.  And, we never worry about getting past the Beavers, it’s pretty much a given in this day and age.  The Huskies are and always be our biggest rival.  Go Ducks!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RO4YUS2CVK6D65W3N3XRZGMANI Hector C

    Art, Ive seen this story written a lot the last couple years, as Oregon has taken off. And I agree to an extent, it is a “competitive advantage” perse we here at Oregon have with Uncle Phil. However, I think its a little too easy and convinient to just say we are winning bc of him. Uncle Phil has been contributing to the school since the mid 90′s, with facilities and uniforms that have been cutting edge and are being copied across the nation the last couple years. But we didnt get to the status that we are now until the last couple years. How could that be, since as you say its all about Uncle Phils money? I have a different theory, and most Oregon fans will agree. Two words: Chip Kelly. Mike Bellotti did a great job building up the program, but 5-6 years ago when we had basically the same facilities, same cutting edge uniforms and the same type of athletes, and we were muddling around in the middle of the Pac 10. We had a great BCS run in 2001, but that was 10 years ago. The difference was the hire of Chip Kelly who has taken this program to a new level. And done so btw, without elite talent. We havent started to recruit at an elite level until the last couple years, since hes been the head coach and we have started to win (that means watch out Husky fan, Chip Kelly with elite NFL athletes as juniors and seniors all over the field is going to be scary). Last years Natty team only had one player drafted, in the 4th round. So while its convinient to put this all on Uncle Phil, saying we are to an extent buying our place in the upper echelon of college football, I think if you look closer it has a lot to do with the Chipper. All things have remained the same at Oregon for the last 15 years or so except for him, hes gotten us over the hump.

    WTD

  • Art Thiel

    Good point, but a different one.  All schools with Nike apparel deals end up supporting, at least indirectly, the Ducks’ rise. Woodward’s point was about dwindling state support, and his reckless blurt. Conflicts of interests abound on college campuses. How about ESPN’s position as power broker in the conference affiliation mayhem? 

  • Artthiel

    I wrote that it was “mostly” due to Knight, not all due. Sark mentioned some other reasons, and I pointed that out. Oregon began dominating Washington before Kelly was here. The stadium upgrade was in 02, but in the pipeline before that. Bellotti recruited to it in the 90s, which he should. The system and the players and the success are products of it. 

  • Michp

    You are correct about Chip. Once all the cheating finally comes out and clarified that will be the end of that story. Cause running backs from Texas want to go to tree hugging Eugene ??? For installments of 25K , I guess it make more sense.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RO4YUS2CVK6D65W3N3XRZGMANI Hector C

    Agreed Art, but again to an extent. 5-6-7 years ago we were kind of a laughing stock, a team that was all flash, but lacked substance. We didnt win a bowl game in my 4 years (didnt make it once and lost the defunct Seattle/Emerald bowl, Sun bowl and Holiday bowl). This was all happening 7-10 years after Uncle Phil got initially involved with the progam during the mid-90′s. Again, Chip has changed things completely and taken us to that next level. From a good program that had good to great teams every couple of years, to a potentially great program challenging for BCS bowl games yearly. And as far as us dominating you Husky’s before Kelly got here, you have to look into the mirror on that one. You had some awful, awful teams there for a while, a lot of teams dominated you Husky’s. Continuing with my theme, that probably had more to due with Keith Gilbertson and Tyrone Willingham than the ”futility” in fundraising for a new stadium.

    WTD

  • cruddly

    I doubt if the NCAA will be dishing out program crippling penalties to any of the major college sports institutions for a while, if ever again.  Now that TV is calling the shots, the NCAA has to keep a low profile so that they, at the very least, can remain intact solely as a toothless policing agency.  
    As insignificant teams are weeded out, and new conferences are formed,  the NCAA will become a shadow of what it used to be.  Their only hope is to be allowed to become the Networks’ enforcer for the field they eventually create.  They might have the kind of authority that the commissioner of MLB has — to fine and suspend various players and coaches, but basically leave the owners, or in this case, the colleges, alone.To penalize a major player, like Nike U, with any big penalties at this point would only hasten their demise.