White­caps go on at­tack

Robinson inks Mon­tero to add much­needed goals

StarMetro Vancouver - - SPORTS -

Van­cou­ver White­caps head coach Carl Robinson had scouted dozens of strik­ers in his seem­ingly end­less search for a proven goalscorer when an old friend sug­gested one more name.

Mauro Ros­ales, who played parts of two sea­sons for Robinson, knew that for­mer team­mate Fredy Mon­tero might be avail­able. He also knew the White­caps des­per­ately needed some­one to put the ball in the back of the net.

“(Ros­ales) didn’t have any wor­ries about sug­gest­ing us as a pos­si­ble des­ti­na­tion,” said Robinson. “It took two or three weeks, but ev­ery­one worked their socks off day and night.”

The White­caps an­nounced Wed­nes­day they have ac­quired Mon­tero from Tian­jin Teda of the Chi­nese Su­per League on a one-year loan deal with the aim of boost­ing an of­fence that has strug­gled the last three sea­sons.

“We’ve got an hon­est enough locker-room here that we know we need some help in that at­tack­ing area,” Robinson said on a con­fer­ence call. “When we’re bring­ing in a player like Fredy Mon­tero you can see ev­ery­one has got an ex­tra spring in their step. They’re de­lighted.”

Mon­tero played in Ma­jor League Soc­cer for the Seat­tle Sounders from 2009 to 2012, in­clud­ing two sea­sons along­side Ros­ales.

Robinson ac­quired Ros­ales in 2014 be­fore deal­ing him to FC Dal­las be­fore the 2016 cam­paign. The Welsh­man said the re­spect he showed the player dur­ing that pe­riod helped get the wheels for the Mon­tero deal in mo­tion.

“In foot­ball you talk all the time about re­la­tion­ships,” said Robinson. “It just goes to show that be­ing up front and hon­est with peo­ple is the right way for­ward in what­ever walk of life you’re in.”

Mon­tero, who joins mid­fielder Ma­tias Laba as a des­ig­nated player in Van­cou­ver, is a three­time MLS all-star and was the league’s new­comer of the year in 2009. The 29-year-old Colom­bian scored 47 goals and added 34 as­sists in 119 reg­u­lar-sea­son ap­pear­ances with Seat­tle.

“It was a no-brainer,” said Robinson. “It helps the squad on the field as well as off the field. We’re ex­cited to have him and get go­ing.”

The deal for Mon­tero in­volved a num­ber of mov­ing parts. Apart from the terms with the Chi­nese club, Van­cou­ver had to get an agree­ment in place with the ex­pan­sion Min­nesota United to se­cure the No. 1 spot in the MLS al­lo­ca­tion rank­ing or­der to bring him back into the league.

In ex­change, the White­caps sent Min­nesota $100,000 US in gen­eral al­lo­ca­tion money and $125,000 in tar­geted al­lo­ca­tion money in 2018, and an in­ter­na­tional ros­ter spot through 2017.

Van­cou­ver has strug­gled to find a re­place­ment for Camilo San­vezzo ever since the Brazil­ian forced his way out of town fol­low­ing a 22-goal cam­paign in 2013 that won him the MLS Golden Boot award.

The sight of White­caps strik­ers look­ing sky­ward or bury­ing faces in hands af­ter miss­ing golden op­por­tu­ni­ties in front of the op­po­si­tion goal has been com­mon­place.

Oc­tavio Rivero looked like the an­swer af­ter a bright start to the 2015 sea­son, but he faded and was sold last sum­mer. The un­proven Masato Kudo was brought in be­fore the 2016 cam­paign, but he also failed to im­press and has since moved on.

Van­cou­ver fans have been won­der­ing if and when Robinson was go­ing to make a move for a goal-scorer, and he fi­nally pulled the trig­ger with Mon­tero.

“Any­one who thinks sign­ing play­ers is easy un­for­tu­nately is mis­taken,” said Robinson, who is set to be­gin his fourth sea­son in charge. “If you have $5 mil­lion then you go spend the money on David Villa. You don’t re­ally have to do much home­work on David Villa.

“We have to find play­ers that fit into the cat­e­gory of our bud­get re­straints. When you do that, ob­vi­ously the search gets nar­rowed.”

As part of the deal, the White­caps re­tain the op­tion to keep Mon­tero’s MLS rights for the 2018 sea­son.

Mon­tero joins newly signed Peru­vian mid­fielder-for­ward Yordy Reyna in Van­cou­ver.

I’m still look­ing at maybe one or two more moves to make the squad stronger. carl robinson

Ar­mAndo FrAncA/The As­so­ci­ATed Press File

Colom­bia’s Fredy Mon­tero scored 13 goals in 16 ap­pear­ances with Por­tu­gal’s Sport­ing CP in 2013 and 14.

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