It’s hard to know how to feel about Fredy Montero. In a way he’s a microcosm of the entire Vancouver Whitecaps team. He’s been hot and cold, his level of success seems to directly defy the eye test, and there are somehow no pictures of him in a Whitecaps jersey in our database (I spent like 15 minutes looking).
*editors note* Yes, there are pictures of Fredy in a Whitecaps jersey.
With his contract expiring and his home club in China, Tianjin, in financial disarray, if the ‘Caps wanted to sign him on a free transfer it could almost certainly be done. There’s only one thing to be done, look at the stats!
Key passes/90: 1
Aerials won/90: 0.7
Total shots: 60 (22 on target)
Conversion rate: 18%
All in all it looks pretty solid. Nine goals might seem a little disappointing but it’s the same number of goals as Jozy Altidore, Chris Wondolowski, Cyle Larin, and Clint Dempsey. It’s nowhere close to Nemanja Nikolic’s 16, and it’s weirdly fewer goals then CJ Sapong has (12). Still, Montero is averaging a very reasonable 0.51 goals per 90 minutes.
In the preseason, if you’d offered Whitecaps fans ia player who scored at a rate of 0.51/90, I think they would have been all over it. The elephant in the room is the 0.7 aerials per 90 minutes. As AtlantisB pointed out in his most recent behind the numbers article, the ‘Caps are the most cross reliant team in MLS. With this in mind it’s possible that a really talented Target Man could put up Nikolic type number for the Whitecaps.
Since we’ve mentioned Nikolic so much let’s look at how he and Montero compare. surprisingly enough Nikolic is only 300k more expensive, despite having almost twice as many goals. He also takes way more shots with an average of 3.5 per game, 78 total and 40 on target. In terms of conversion rate the two are actually about even. Nikolic scores on about 20% of his total shots and Montero scores on about 18%. The fact that the ‘Caps are last in total number of passes and passing accuracy (both on long balls and on short balls) may explain the disparity in goals. Montero does have more key passes at 1.0 per game compared to Nikolic’s 0.5. This is most likely due to Montero playing as more of a false 9 or even, dare I say it, a Trequartista. Nikolic is dispossessed about half as often.
Toronto FC often inspire envy among Whitecaps fans with their big spending and flashy designated players. But, are they really better off with Jozy Altidore and his 4 million+ salary? While they have the same number of goals (9), Altidore has three more assists. Altidore also makes slightly more key passes (1.3) and has his goals on fewer shots (46 total, 19 on target). This puts his conversion rate at 19.5% which is higher, but not an insurmountable difference. Finally, Altidore wins almost double the number of headers per game than Montero (1.3 versus 0.7).
I suppose we should also compare Montero to this season’s surprise break-out player CJ Sapong! You may remember Sapong as a painfully average squad player for Sporting Kansas City. Now he plays for Philadelphia Union and is third in league scoring (behind Nikolic and David Villa). This furthers my theory that everything in Major League Soccer is random and nothing matters, but I digress. C.J Sapong is better then Montero in almost every relevant category. I’m dead serious! Sapong has more goals (12), More assists (4), the same number of key passes per game, more dribbles (0.8), a better conversion rate (28.5%), wins a huge 3.0 aerials per 90 minutes (more than Kendall Waston), and only costs 300k. What is life?
Montero has comparable underlying stats to other DP strikers (and hugely inferior to Sapong) but due to a lack of the type of service he thrives on he can’t quite reach his true potential. So should the Whitecaps look to add a striker who’s 6’8 and just bounce balls in off his face or do they try and make it work with Montero, a player who we know is good but doesn’t quite fit in? Before you answer I think you should consider a few things.
- New signings always carry a certain degree of risk and even seemingly good fits can be disasters. Octavio Rivero being a recent example. If the Whitecaps go out and sign a target man who fails to integrate with the rest of the squad like Rivero they’ll certainly look foolish for giving up on a not ideal but good option in favour of a dud.
- With Brek Shea most likely leaving next year (his contract is up) and the ever present possibility of buying down Matias Laba to a non DP contract the Whitecaps could potentially bring in one or two DPs who could potentially improve the quality of service Montero could get should he stay.
- Some people have pointed out that Montero has been pretty streaky and thus is not reliable enough. I think that streakiness is a trait of most strikers and you’re extremely unlikely to find the mythical goal a game striker. 0.51 goals per 90 is nothing to sneeze at and the ‘Caps can fill the gaps in form with goals from set pieces.
What’s you opinion? Should the ‘Caps keep Montero around for 2018 and try to make it work or should they venture into the transfer market to try for a perfect fit? If you feel so inclined, explain your answer in the comments.
What Should the Whitecaps do With Fredy Montero in 2018?
This poll is closed
Re-sign him: better the devil you know
Let him go: sign the soccer equivalent of Brock Lesner
I am a troll