Fredy Montero, in case you hadn’t heard, is back in Europe with Sporting CP, where he’s again on loan from Chinese club Tianjin Teda. While that may come as a surprise, that he’s again scoring goals should not be one.
Facing Czech Republic team Viktoria Plzen — where Andres Ivanschitz is currently playing — in the Europa League Round of 16, Montero scored a brace on a pair of well-taken goals to lead Sporting to a 2-0 win.
The first one was vintage Montero, as he collected a cross off his chest in front of goal and calmly volleyed it home with the outside of his boot.
He followed that up with another goal that is very similar to others we’ve seen from him, as he got out on the break, dribbled through a couple defenders and then coolly finished with his left.
Montero has now played about 400 minutes with Sporting since making his return and has three goals. Those aren’t necessarily eye-popping numbers, but they do suggest that Montero as these last two show, he’s still a ton of fun to watch. As someone who has loved watching Montero over the years, seeing him misused by the Vancouver Whitecaps last year — even if it benefitted the Sounders — was painful at times. He is nothing like a classic No. 9 and is almost completely wasted when asked to just loiter near midfield and wait for balls over the top like he did in the series against the Sounders.
That Montero still managed to score 15 goals in all competitions last year is perhaps his most notable statistical achievement. He needed to get away from Carl Robinson, and I couldn’t be happier he did.