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Updates on Montero, Martinez, Friberg, and more

Where in the world is your favorite former Sounder? If he's not in North America and is still playing soccer, you'll find him listed below.

Otto Greule Jr

A little over a year ago, I wrote an article about Sounders in foreign league called "Rave Green Diplomats". The idea was to do periodic updates on how Sounders who have left the team are performing in foreign leagues. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to follow up on it then, but I hope to make this a recurring series. With that being said, let's get reacquainted with some of our former players.

Fredy Montero, Sporting Clube de Portugal

Let's not kid ourselves. At least until January, Fredy is the former Sounder whose career we're most closely following. Why? Because he's still the most talented former Sounder and is playing for a higher profile foreign team than any other player who has ever put on a rave green kit.

He also happens to be the first Sounders FC player to participate in UEFA Champions League after leaving Seattle. Midway through the group stage, Sporting is at the bottom of the group with 1 point. Although it isn't looking good for the team to advance to the knockout stage of Champions League, Sporting is only 1 point behind Maribor for third place, which would qualify them for the knockout stage of Europa League. It's entirely possible that we could see Fredy Montero facing DeAndre Yedlin in a few months in European continental competition. Who would've predicted that a year or two ago?

Montero recently ended a scoring slump dating back to last December with a goal in a 4-0 win over Penafiel. He followed that up last weekend with a goal in the 66th minute to seal a 4-2 win over Marítimo. Those 2 goals in 339 league minutes over 7 appearances give him a respectable 0.53 goals per 90 average.

His most recent goal is definitely worth another look:

Team Season Competition Minutes Appearances Goals
Sporting 2014/15 Portuguese Primeira Liga 339 7 2
Sporting 2014/15 UEFA Champions League 74 3 0
Sporting 2014/15 Taça de Portugal 30 1 0
Sporting 2013/14 Portuguese Primeira Liga 2023 29 13
Sporting 2013/14 Taça de Portugal 120 1 0
Sporting 2013/14 Taça de Liga 117 2 0
Millonarios 2013 Colombian Primera A 1673 22 8
Millonarios 2013 Copa Libertadores 393 5 0
Millonarios 2013 Copa Colombia 304 5 2
Millonarios 2013 Colombian Super Cup 90 2 0

Adam Johansson, IFK Göteborg (Sweden)

Since the Sounders released Adam Johansson to make room on the first team for DeAndre Yedlin, our favorite Swedish fullback returned to his former club and helped them third in the league last year and second in the league this year. Johansson is part of a back line that has only conceded 64 goals in 60 matches over the past two seasons in Allsvenskan. He also helped Göteborg win the 2012/13 Svenska Cupen less than 2 months after being let go by the Sounders last year. He finished the 2014 Allsvenskan season with 2 assists in 1,334 minutes over 15 appearances.

Here's a a video highlighting some of the best plays Johansson has made since returning to Sweden:

Team Season Competition Minutes Appearances Goals
IFK Göteborg 2014/15 UEFA Europa League 407 6 0
IFK Göteborg 2014/15 Svenska Cupen 83 1 0
IFK Göteborg 2014 Swedish Allsvenskan 1334 15 0
Sweden 2014 UEFA World Cup Qualification 116 2 0
IFK Göteborg 2013/14 UEFA Europa League 174 2 0
IFK Göteborg 2013/14 Svenska Cupen 180 2 0
IFK Göteborg 2013 Swedish Allsvenskan 2319 27 0
IFK Göteborg 2013 Swedish Super Cup 90 1 0
Sweden 2013 Friendlies 43 2 0
IFK Göteborg 2012/13 Svenska Cupen 210 2 0

Michael Gspurning, Platanias (Greece)

Although he was in talks with New York City FC in August, Gspurning wound up returning to the Greek Super League last month with Platanias FC. Although he hasn't yet appeared in a match with his new club, he was on the bench in their two most recent matches. Because his contract runs out at the end of December, it's still possible that Gspurning returns to MLS in 2015.

Team Season Competition Minutes Apperances Goals Against
PAOK Thessaloniki 2013/14 Greek Super League 90 1 3

Erik Friberg, Bologna FC (Italy)

Friberg's situation might be the most disappointing to Sounders fans. If he had stayed at Malmö in January instead of transferring to Bologna, he would probably be participating in UEFA Champions League right now, where his former club is competing in Group A with Olympiacos, Atlético Madrid, and Juventus. Instead, Friberg has yet to make an appearance in Serie B. Even worse, he hasn't even been included on the bench in any match this season, and that's in a league that allows each team to name 9 players to its bench.

According to this article (in Swedish, Google Translate version here), Friberg isn't even registered to play in Serie B right now, but his agent thinks he could switch clubs in January. He says that there are options in the "Nordic market", but he doesn't close the door on other teams. Could this be an opening for Friberg to return to the Sounders?

Team Season Competition Minutes Appearances Goals
Bologna 2014/15 Italian Serie B 0 0 0
Bologna 2013/14 Italian Serie A 422 7 0
Malmö 2013/14 UEFA Europa League 290 6 0
Malmö 2013/14 Svenska Cupen 70 1 0
Malmö 2013 Swedish Super Cup 15 1 0
Malmö 2013 Swedish Allsvenskan 1964 27 6
Malmö 2012/13 Svenska Cupen 220 3 0
Malmö 2012 Swedish Allsvenskan 1680 24 0
Sweden 2012 Friendlies 1 1 0

Christian Sivebæk, Vejle Boldklub (Denmark)

Sivebæk is currently in his third season in Denmark's First Division (which is actually the second level in the country's league system) since leaving the Sounders in the middle of of the 2012 MLS season. Vejle was Sivebæk's youth club before he moved to FC Midtjylland's academy in 2004. It's also the first club of his father, Danish legend John Sivebæk. Although the club came just 4 points away from promotion to the Superliga in the first season, Vejle has been a middle of the table team since then. Perhaps part of that is due to the fact that the club split into 2 clubs after the 2012/13 season.

Ironically enough, Sivebæk's production has actually improved significantly since his team became a middle of the table club. In the past season and a half, he has scored 7 goals in 1,773 minutes in league play over 32 appearances.

Here are some brief highlights from a match last month in which Sivebæk scored his most recent goal:

Team Season Competition Minutes Appearances Goals
Vejle 2014/15 Danish First Division 896 12 3
Vejle 2013/14 Danish First Division 877 20 4
Vejle-Kolding 2012/13 Danish First Division 975 17 0
Vejle-Kolding 2012/13 DBU Pokalen 82 1 0

Christian Tiffert, Free Agent

Tiffert has been without a club since the end of the 2. Bundesliga season this spring. Last season, he logged 1,888 league minutes in 24 appearances with VfL Bochum. Given that, it's pretty surprising that he still hasn't signed with another club yet. His absence is notable enough that German site named him to its best 11 of unattached Bundesliga players earlier this month.

Team Season Competition Minutes Appearances Goals
Bochum 2013/14 2. Bundesliga 1888 24 0
Bochum 2013/14 DFB Pokal 90 1 0

Mario Martinez, Barcelona Sporting Club (Ecuador)

Martinez will probably always be remembered for scoring the goal that won a playoff series for the first time in Sounders FC history, but for most of his time with the team, he never seemed to get enough time in Seattle to really settle in to the first team. Around this time last year, he hinted that he might be close to signing with the Sounders, but if that was close to happening, it never came to fruition. Instead, he transferred to a club in Ecuador at the end of July that most American fans are unfamiliar with, even if its name is very familiar.

Barcelona SC was involved in this year's Copa Sudamericana, which is sort of like South America's version of Europa League (although there is no group stage). It was eliminated in the second round of the tournament last month by Paraguayan club Liberdad after defeating Peru's Alianza Lima in the first round. Martinez appeared in 3 of his club's 4 matches in the tournament, logging 169 minutes and providing 1 assist. The only match his club lost was the one in which he didn't appear.

Barcelona currently sits at the top of the table in Ecuador's Primera A in the second stage after finishing 4th in the first stage. This weekend, it faces Independiente del Valle, the team currently in second place. Although Barcelona has a 4 point lead, Independiente has a game in hand. The winner of the league title (determined by cumulative record in both stages of the season) is qualified for the second stage of the 2015 Copa Libertadores, while the second and third place teams qualify for the first stage of the tournament. Martinez currently has 1 goal in 546 league minutes over 11 appearances. It's unclear how many (if any) assists he has in league play, because it does not appear that the league tracks assists.

With the Honduras national team, Martinez managed to proved the game-tying assist against the United States earlier this month after coming off the bench. He also came off the bench in the 2-0 loss to Mexico. Last month, he logged 150 minutes in 2 appearances in the Copa Centroamericana, where Honduras finished 5th. It will play the 5th place team from the Caribbean Cup for a spot in the 2015 Gold Cup.

Martinez may have left MLS, but he recently showed why he's one of the few players who has Nick Rimando's number:

Team Season Competition Minutes Appearances Goals
Barcelona SC 2014 Ecuadorian Primera A 546 11 1
Barcelona SC 2014 Copa Sudamericana 169 3 0
Honduras 2014 Copa Centroamericana 150 2 0
Honduras 2014 Friendlies 170 5 0
Honduras 2014 World Cup 19 1 0
Real España 2013/14 Honduran Liga Nacional 2547 35 7

Álvaro Fernández, Gimnasia La Plata (Argentina)

For the first time since he was traded from the Sounders to the Chicago Fire to make room for Christian Tiffert, Flaco has gone through an entire calendar year with one club. In the second half of Argentina's 2013/14 Primera A season, Fernández scored 2 goals in 1,018 league minutes across 12 appearances, all of which were starts. In the 2014 Torneo de Transición (the name indicates a coming change in the league's format), Flaco has 1 goal in 927 minutes over 11 appearances, all starts. Gimnasia is currently 13th in the league table after finishing 5th if the Torneo Final in the spring.

Like Mario Martinez, Flaco's team participated in this year's Copa Sudamericana and like Barcelona, Gimnasia was eliminated in the second stage. Flaco's team was eliminated by fellow Argentine club Estudiantes. Fernández played every minute of the 2 leg series in a 1-0 aggregate defeat.

Here's a nice header Fernández scored against San Lorenzo a few weeks ago:

Team Season Competition Minutes Appearances Goals
Gimnasia La Plata 2014 Argentine Primera División 927 11 1
Gimnasia La Plata 2014 Copa Sudamericana 180 2 0
Uruguay 2014 CONMEBOL World Cup Qualification 24 1 0
Gimnasia La Plata 2013/14 Argentine Primera División 1018 12 2
Gimnasia La Plata 2013/14 Copa Argentina 90 1 0
Nacional 2013/14 Uruguayan Primera División 1105 14 0
Al Rayyan 2013 AFC Champions League 450 5 0
Al Rayyan 2012/13 Qatari Stars League 404 5 0

Miguel Montaño, Quilmes (Argentina)

It's been a tough road for Montaño since leaving MLS. He's only just now starting to see significant playing time with the first team in a top flight league. In the 2012/13 season, he saw a total of 58 minutes in Colombia's Primera A. He then spent the second half of the year in 2013 with Uniautónoma in Primera B, Colombia's second division, where he scored 1 goal in 369 minutes over 11 appearances, helping the club win the division and promotion to Primera A. Then, for the first half of 2014, he didn't appear to even be attached to a club. He wound up returning to Quilmes (the club from which the Sounders signed him) in July.

Prior to this month, Montaño only had one league appearance at the end of August in a 3-0 loss. On the 18th, he came off the bench against Atlético Rafaela and played the final 16 minutes of a 0-0 draw. Last weekend, he was given his first start in a top flight league in nearly 2 1/2 years. Unfortunately for him, he was sent off in the 46th minute after picking up his second yellow card. In a bit of a crazy stat, Montaño has 5 career yellow cards in league play, with 2 of them being second yellows leading to a red card, in addition to the straight red card he received while playing for the Sounders.

Although Montaño hasn't scored a goal yet this season, he made a nice play that was nearly an assist 2 weeks ago:

Team Season Competition Minutes Appearances Goals
Quilmes 2014 Argentine Premia División 106 3 0
Uniautónoma 2013 Colombian Primera B 369 11 1
Cúcuta Deportivo 2013 Colombian Primera A 49 2 0
Cúcuta Deportivo 2013 Copa Colombia 393 6 0
Deportivo Cali 2012 Colombian Primera A 9 1 0

Freddie Ljungberg, Mumbai City (India)

The first ever Sounders DP has unretired to help launch the Indian Super League, which is operated in a way similar to MLS. There is no promotion or relegation, and the teams are franchises of the single entity league. The first season will only last for 3 months, which is probably helped attract players like Ljungberg. In his first two games, he has logged 65 minutes.

Team Season Competition Minutes Appearances Goals
Mumbai City 2014 Indian Super League 65 2 0
Shimizu S-Pulse 2011 Japanese J1 League 521 8 0
Shimizu S-Pulse 2011 J-League Cup 72 2 0
Celtic 2010/11 Scottish Premier League 155 7 0
Celtic 2010/11 Scottish Cup 64 1 0

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