A free agent after his contract expired with Vancouver, the all-time-leading Colombian scorer in MLS returns to where it all began for him: Seattle.

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Fredy Montero was a Vancouver Whitecap — twice, even — but it always felt like he would forever be a member of the Seattle Sounders.

Well, he is again.

On Thursday, the veteran striker signed a one-year deal, with options for two more, with the club he broke into MLS with. Montero, 33, scored the first goal in Seattle’s MLS history (Trivia alert: it was against the New York Red Bulls in 2009, on an assist from eventual Whitecap Sebastian Le Toux) and won the team’s Golden Boot his first three seasons.

He won the Boot with the Caps in 2017 with 13 regular-season goals, then tacked on another 13 combined in 2019 and ’20 in his second stint with Vancouver.

Montero had a few talks with the Whitecaps in January, and fielded offers from Colombia, Argentina and Europe, but his heart was always set on Seattle.

“Why? Because (the) Sounders is my home. Seattle is my home,” he said during a media call Friday.

“I love my time playing here and of course … having the opportunity to stay here. (My) family and friends and church community are here,” said Montero, who owns a house in Bellevue and whose wife, Alexis, is a Gig Harbor native.


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“For us, home base was always Seattle. Seattle was always the city we’re always looking back to. It’s gonna be really, really nice,” he said of the prospect of seeing the coaches, staff and members of the Sounders who remain from his first go-round with the team.

“And hopefully, I’m allowed to hug them because I really have missed them — all of them.”

Montero returned to the Whitecaps and MLS in 2019 after a stint in China, and the former Sporting CP player looked to be a seamless fit in the “Portuguese style” coach Marc Dos Santos wanted his team to play. He had limited success, putting up eight goals and three assists in 32 appearances, then had five goals and five assists in 2020 — two of those goals coming in the season finale.

He never seemed to mesh with the club, but feels he still has plenty of life left in his legs.

“I have nothing else to say but good things about Mr. Dos Santos,” he said. “I enjoy my time with him — two years. And obviously, we have ups-and-downs, but I wish him the best. Now I am on the other side of the border, when I do my best to play against them and score goals (against them).

“I don’t hold anything personal. I’m in a stage of my career where I learned the hard way to … just live the moment. And right now, my mind and my heart is where they belong, and I’m gonna enjoy everything else that is coming now.”

Montero morphed into a de facto No. 10 or False 9 in the second half of the season, providing the creative play in the middle of the park that linked the forward line, with three of his five assists coming on Lucas Cavallini goals.


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But Vancouver is looking to go younger — they’re reportedly close to a deal with Botafogo midfielder Caio Alexandre, and are still in the market for that Designated Player No. 10 — and talks with Montero never advanced very far.

“We spoke about the possibility of him coming back, we negotiated with the agent also,” said Dos Santos. “And when you’re in a moment like that, everything needs to fall into place. The player needs to be comfortable with the situation, the club, and find an agreement where everybody is happy, and it didn’t get to that point.”

Seattle is a better fit for Montero, starting with the coach. Brian Schmetzer, then an assistant, flew to Colombia to recruit him, via a translator, to come to the MLS. After Montero left Seattle, he kept in close contact with him and watched Schmetzer’s ascent from afar.

This time around, the Sounders’ coach sold him on the team’s two-striker plan for 2021, and Montero was jazzed to envision playing that role in front of one to the best midfields in MLS. The Sounders are one of the league’s best passing teams, with the third-most attempted and completed passes, and the third best numbers in passes into the final third, total assists (30) and xA (29.3).

“I’ve never been a superfast player, never been the tallest, I’ve never been the strongest, but always the best-looking on my team,” Montero joked, adding his years of experience in Colombia, Europe, China and MLS have made him a smarter player.


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“I’m going to be worried about trying to take advantage of my abilities in the box. I know for a fact that the midfield they are able to just find the strikers. They create chances, they are always worrying about feeding the strikers, and that’s something that I’m looking for.”

Montero, the all-time leading Cascadia Cup scorer, is No. 2 on the list of rivalry-game goals against Vancouver, something he intends to continue now that he’s back in Rave Green.

“Now I have friends on the other team that I talk to weekly. And I’m looking forward to winning,” he said. “There is nothing else that I hate the most than losing against friends. So I’m gonna do everything in my power to step on the field (and) … score goals, and make sure that the Sounders are the one winning the game.”

Scoring was something he did so well in his first run with the Sounders, and he’s still the club’s all-time leading scorer, a title that gave him all the juice he needed with the Sounders’ ticket office when friends and family have come calling over the years.

“As a Colombian, you always look for a discount,” he said, smiling. “I was texting and emailing (the front office), ‘Hey, what is the legend discount on tickets?

“It was good to see (I’m still the top-scorer). A lot of good players came into the team, a lot of those players have left the team … and I’m still No. 1. It feels amazing, I’m not gonna lie to you. And I’m here to make sure that that number keeps going up.”




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