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Fredy Montero just cannot get it going when things matter most.
Playing in his ninth playoff game for the Seattle Sounders on Sunday, Montero once again was held scoreless in a disappointing performance in a 3-0 defeat to the Los Angeles Galaxy in the first leg of their Western Conference semifinals series. Montero has never scored for Seattle in the postseason, and his struggles in Sunday’s match at the Home Depot Center forced head coach Sigi Schmid to remove the Colombian striker in the 65th minute.
Now, the Sounders are in a big hole in the series and they will need Montero to end his damning drought if they are to have any hope of reaching the MLS Cup final.
Why is it, however, that Montero struggles so mightily in the playoffs? Schmid believes it may be because teams are stronger defensively in the postseason, which makes things tougher on Montero.
“Obviously, there are streaks and goal-scorers are streaky,” Schmid told the Seattle Times. “It’s been over four years now and he hasn’t found the goal in the playoffs. He’s working hard. He’s trying to get the ball. He’s trying to get some looks, certainly, but teams focus a little bit harder in the playoffs and it’s been harder for him to find space.”
If space is hard to come by during a regular postseason game, Montero will have his work cut out for him in the second leg at CenturyLink Field. The Galaxy are currently sitting on a comfortable three-goal cushion, and it is unlikely that they will leave Seattle much space to exploit in a match that will surely be played in front of a huge number of Sounders supporters.
Still, Montero is known for being able to come up with moments of magic and he has the skill and finishing ability to make defenses pay for even the slightest hiccup.
Montero will indeed have an opportunity to redeem himself for all his past playoff troubles, but he will need a big outing in order to do so.
Why do you think Montero struggles in the postseason? Do you see him bouncing back in the second leg? Think there is any chance the Sounders can overcome their three-goal deficit to the Galaxy?
Share your thoughts below.