By Don Ruiz The News Tribune
TUKWILA — Seattle Sounders FC career goals leader Fredy Montero will be in the stands at Starfire Sports Stadium today watching his former team face the San Jose Earthquakes in the U.S. Open Cup.
After visiting the Sounders’ training session Monday, Montero said he hopes to rejoin the club as a player someday.
“That’s one of my dreams now,” he said. “I hope to be back playing for the Sounders.”
Montero played in his native Colombia before joining the Sounders in their 2009 expansion season. Over four seasons, he became Seattle’s career leader with 47 goals, including a career-high 13 in 2012. He also shares the club’s assist record with 34, and ranks among the leaders in several other categories.
However, in January 2013, he was loaned to Millonarios of Columbia and then loaned to Sporting Portugal, which signed him to a contract reported to run through 2018.
During this European offseason, Montero returned to the Northwest, where his wife’s family resides.
“This is my second home, and I’m always happy to come here — always,” he said. “I feel like I have to go say hi to my old teammates, too.”
Montero said he continues to follow those teammates from afar.
“I know that they can still win the Open Cup this year,” he said. “Or they can still play for the first position (in Major League Soccer) and hopefully this year they win the Supporters Shield. Last year they had it close. I always hope for the team getting victories and happy for them because they are doing that right now.”
Montero said he will return to Europe before the Sounders resume league play Saturday at D.C. United. But he is taking advantage of his chance to watch them Tuesday as they meet the Earthquakes in the fifth-round of the Open Cup — which the club won in 2009, 2010 and 2011 with Montero on the roster.
Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said he expects Montero to see a high-quality game. Schmid indicated that he will go with more of his regular starters than he did last week when Seattle routed amateur side PSA Elite of California.
He predicted a top-quality roster from the Quakes as well.
“I expect pretty much a first-team effort for them because the league hasn’t gone as well as they would have liked so far — where they’re at and their position,” Schmid said. “So the Open Cup becomes a source of pride, I think. If a team’s not doing as well, they put a little more stock into that.”
The winner of this match will advance to the Open Cup quarterfinal round, meeting the winner of today’s match between Sporting Kansas City and the Portland Timbers.
The Sounders reported “a limited amount” of tickets for the Open Cup match remained available as of Monday afternoon. … Seattle’s home match against the Los Angeles Galaxy originally scheduled for July 26 has been moved to 7 p.m. July 28 at CenturyLink Field to accommodate national television and “community-wide events,” including Seafair. The game will be shown on ESPN2.