The scheduled clash between two of the most prolific scorers in Major League Soccer may not happen this weekend after Sounders FC's Fredy Montero underwent surgery on his right wrist Thursday.
Coach Sigi Schmid said the operation would leave Montero questionable for the game Saturday at San Jose – home of Chris Wondolowski, winner of the 2010 Golden Boot as MLS’ top scorer.
Montero suffered the jury a couple of weeks ago at New York. He played last weekend against Houston, however, the medical staff decided this week it was time to act.
“It’s not something major, but it’s something that needed to be done now because it could have developed into something major if it wasn’t taken care of,” Schmid said. “... If he does miss Saturday, he’d be back for the following week for sure. It’s not going to keep him out very long.”
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Montero led the Sounders with 12 goals as a rookie in 2009, and he tied with Steve Zakuani for the team lead with 10 goals last season.
However, he hasn’t scored in three games this season – or at all since last August.
That slump stands in contrast to Wondolowski, who has scored his team’s last 12 goals. That’s the longest such streak in MLS history, and includes both goals in San Jose’s 2-0 win at Dallas last week. Last season, he led MLS with 18 goals.
“Kudos to Wondolowski: quality player, quality guy,” said Sounders defender James Riley. “He’s paid his dues for sure, and he’s gotten to a situation where he’s flourishing. ... He’s a smart player, a schemer who gets to the good spots. We’ll look to have a hand or a body on him when he’s in the box.”
Both of Wondolowski’s goals against Dallas were characteristic of his game: quick strikes that came from positioning and finishing.
On the first, he received the ball with his back to the goal, touched it slightly toward the middle of the penalty area, turned and fired. The second was a flicked-in header after a cross into the box.
“He doesn’t need a yard on you; he needs a half a yard,” Sounders defender Jeff Parke said. “He’s always ready to pull the trigger. His goals (last) weekend showed that: a touch, turn and fire. He’s hungry around the goal and he’s a good finisher, so he’s a guy that you have to be close to at all times.”
For San Jose, the win at Dallas followed a 1-0 opening loss against Real Salt Lake. That means in 180 minutes so far this season, the Quakes have scored two goals – Wondolowski’s – while surrendering one.
Part of that defensive toughness, defender Jason Hernandez said, comes from working against Wondolowski at each training session.
“Defending Wondo every day makes us better defenders and makes us better for the weekend,” Hernandez said. “Wondo is just a player who only needs one or two chances to make you pay. He doesn’t really waste chances too often. He has a knack of finding a way of finding position to score goals. As a forward, that’s all you can ask for: to get those opportunities. And to his credit, he’s a class finisher and he makes the most of them.”
Parke, meanwhile, admits the Sounders’ back line would welcome a little more offensive support, as the club has allowed one goal per game yet stands at 0-2-1 on the season.
“To be honest, it’s a bit frustrating,” he said. “In the back, you’d like to see some of the pressure taken off. If we could get a goal in there, or a couple of good chances where you feel like the confidence is there that guys are going to bang one in, or if something should happen if we gave up a goal we had the confidence that we could get one back real fast. But that comes with time, and once we knock a few in we’ll have that confidence.”
Riley (concussion) returned to full training Thursday and has been cleared for Saturday . ... Midfielder Mike Fucito rolled an ankle early in training Thursday and left the pitch. The severity of the injury wasn’t immediately known.
Don Ruiz, 253-597-8808 firstname.lastname@example.org