Vancouver address lack of striker scoring with Mega Fredy Montero Move
In 2016, Vancouver Whitecaps’ strikers accounted for eight of the team’s 45 goals. In one sweeping off season move, however, the team has addressed its lack of scoring.
Fredy Montero’s signing by Vancouver Whitecaps this Major League Soccer off season has propelled the team from being 16th best in 2016, to potentially being a top three side. The one move has arguably made a favorite to top the MLS Western Conference. Too bad reigning MLS Cup champion Seattle Sounders have made quality moves, too.
Montero’s arrival on loan from Chinese Super League team Tianjin TEDA is a coup for both the Whitecaps and MLS. The speedy striker is a former Seattle Sounders’ star, who long tormented Vancouver as a member of the hated Rave Green.
Vancouver has the option to buy Montero following the loan spell, which would finally see a top MLS talent return to the league as opposed to leave. Montero may be four years older, but MLS has proven time and again, a regular scoring striker is the most important addition a club can make.
The last few seasons have seen attack-minded players revolutionize the league. Sebastian Giovinco, David Villa, Bradley Wright-Phillips and previously Robbie Keane, led their teams to top MLS regular season and playoff performances thanks to their goal scoring exploits.
Montero tallied 47 goals in 119 games for the Sounders. During his four-year Sounders’ career, Montero scored double-digit goals in each season. He now returns to an MLS that is far more attacking and far more skillful than when he left – something the league continues to build on slowly, but surely.
Vancouver was 11th in goal scoring in the entire MLS in 2016 (45). If Montero would have been with the club a season ago, he would have theoretically tallied his typical 12 league goals. Those goals would have improved the team to 57 tallies, and third overall in MLS scoring. Those 12 goals would have helped the Whitecaps obtain around six to eight further points, and help them make the playoffs – or at least fight for the final spot.
While Vancouver has addressed its scoring for 2017, the defense may still be suspect. The Whitecaps to this point, haven’t added much to help its back four. Veteran defender Sheanon Williams arrived from Houston Dynamo in an off season trade.
Williams could be the missing link the team needs, however. Houston gave up the eighth fewest goals in 2016 despite being one of the MLS’s worst teams overall. Meanwhile, Vancouver allowed 11th fewest goals (52), a number the team must improve on if it wants to fight for a Supporters’ Shield.
Like fellow Canadians Toronto, Vancouver could be using an “attack is the best form of defense” mentality for 2017. Toronto tallied 51 goals behind Giovinco last season, and because of his slaloming runs and ability to create and score; opponents had to be tactically aware of the Reds’ counter-attack.
Montero isn’t nearly as dynamic as Giovinco, but he is a player that can completely change the team; if the Whitecaps center its attack round him. The season is still a few days away, but the Whitecaps – on paper – have improved the team immensely ahead of the new MLS season.