By Don Ruiz The News Tribune
Fredy Montero’s association with the Seattle Sounders appears near its end.
Negotiations are well under way on a deal that would send Montero to Sporting Lisbon of Portugal, according to general manager Adrian Hanauer.
“I will confirm it’s not a rumor,” Hanauer said. ” … But nothing is done. And we’ll obviously announce something if and when it happens.”
Hanauer said the terms of the deal are being finalized. He declined to discuss what the sale could mean financially to the Sounders.
Montero, 25, joined Seattle in its 2009 expansion season and led that team with 12 goals. Over the next three seasons he added 10, 12 and 13 goals, adding up to a club career-high 47.
Before this season, he was loaned to Millonairos in his native Colombia, where he has seven goals in 25 games. Reports surfaced Thursday that he could be closing in on a five-year deal with Sporting Lisbon.
“The Portuguese league is a good league in Europe,” Hanauer said. “Sporting has played Champions League somewhat regularly (and has a) lot of visibility in the league. … Certainly he’s not going to — no offense — the Swedish second division.”
Hanauer expressed his appreciation for what Montero has meant to the Sounders and held out the possibility that he could wear the rave green again.
“I feel like he was a kid when he got here,” Hanauer said. “On the field I’m not sure you’d ever say he was a kid, because as soon as he got here he was influential — scored the first goal in the history of the franchise, scored a lot of big goals and spectacular goals. I guess I’m proud that he was a big part of the franchise and that he developed into a really good young man while he was here; because we want to win soccer games, develop soccer players and develop good young men — which, again, is why the door is always open. You never know.”
Meanwhile, midfielder Brad Evans, another original Sounder, is playing through the final season of his current contract. Evans returned to training after being given a few days off following his World Cup qualifying run with the U.S. national team.
With his career apparently ascending, he said he would like to stay with the Sounders but also is open to playing in Europe.
Neither Evans nor Sounders forward Eddie Johnson was among the 23 players named Thursday by U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann for the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup. Either or both could be added after the competition’s group phase. The U.S. opens the Gold Cup competition against Belize on July 9 in Portland. Gold Cup matches between Panama-Martinique and Mexico-Canada will be played July 11 at CenturyLink Field. … The Sounders waived defender Ashani Fairclough on Thursday. Fairclough, 20, was in his first season with the club. He made no MLS appearances, but logged 214 minutes in four MLS Reserve League matches. Fairclough is from Jamaica, and his departure gives the Sounders two open international roster spots.