Skip to main content

Vancouver Whitecaps' Fredy Montero celebrates after scoring on a penalty kick during the first half of an MLS soccer game against the Houston Dynamo in Vancouver, B.C., on Aug. 19, 2017.DARRYL DYCK/The Canadian Press

Fredy Montero didn't celebrate his two-goal performance – at least on the field – the last time he suited up against the Seattle Sounders.

The Whitecaps striker doesn't plan on changing a thing when Vancouver hosts his former club for a second time this season on Wednesday night.

Montero, who scored 47 times in 119 regular-season appearances for Seattle from 2009 to 2012, bagged two goals against the Sounders in Vancouver's 2-1 victory back in April. But while his teammates mobbed him after each goal in the derby game against a bitter rival, the Colombian kept his emotions in check.

"It's displaying loyalty," Montero explained Tuesday after training. "It's the way soccer players show respect.

"With the opportunity [Seattle] gave me to play there, I want to show respect."

On loan to Vancouver from his club in China this season, the designated player has scored 10 times in Major League Soccer in 2017, including a coolly taken penalty in Saturday's 2-1 home victory over the Houston Dynamo.

And while the soft-spoken Montero doesn't show his cards very often, Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson said it's clear his star forward is amped up by another visit from the Sounders.

"He's not stopped smiling the last few days," said the Welshman. "You need your top players to perform in the big games. It's certainly a big game."

Montero and Yordy Reyna – an off-season addition who missed the first half of the year with a broken foot – have already developed good chemistry at the top of Vancouver's formation in limited time together. An attacking midfielder Robinson has described as a "rash" because he's all over the field, Reyna is helping to both drive the play and support Montero.

"Yordy's making a huge impact in the team because he's a player that is always asking for the ball," said Montero, who also set up Reyna's stunning goal from 20 yards out against Houston. "There is always a connection between him and me.

"We need to make sure he has the ball as many times as we can."

Vancouver (10-9-4) currently occupies the sixth and final playoff spot in the crowded Western Conference with 34 points, one better than the San Jose Earthquakes. The Whitecaps also have at least two games in hand on four of the five teams above them in the table, including Seattle (11-7-7), which sits tied for first with Sporting Kansas City on 40 points.

"We have a huge opportunity in front of us," said Vancouver defender Jordan Harvey. "There's a lot of parity."

Vancouver started a run of six out of seven games at home with Saturday's victory over the Dynamo, who entered that match in a four-way deadlock for first in the West with Seattle, Kansas City and the Portland Timbers.

Both the Whitecaps and Sounders are in the middle of a stretch of three games in eight days, with Vancouver set to visit Orlando City SC on Saturday, and Seattle welcoming the Portland Timbers on Sunday prior to the start of the international break from Aug. 28 to Sept. 5.

Robinson said he's gone back and forth a few times since the Houston match on his lineup for Wednesday, but it looked and sounded like he will probably only make a couple changes before shuffling the deck this weekend.

Seattle comes to Vancouver red-hot, having gone 9-2-3 over the last 14 games after winning just two of its first 11 outings (2-5-4) – somewhat mirroring the tough start to 2016 that eventually ended with the franchise winning its first MLS Cup.

Unbeaten in nine straight (6-0-3) dating back to the middle of June, the Sounders have won three in a row and six of seven, including Sunday's 2-1 home victory over Minnesota United, a result that saw Seattle concede a goal for the first time in four matches.

"They've caught fire at the right time," said Robinson. "It's going to be a great test for us."