Montero, Sounders look to stay hot in SoCal

Aug 24, 2012, 9:42 AM | Updated: 11:11 am

He scored fantastic goals, starred in a television documentary, threw the first pitch at a Mariners game, and now is the spokesman for a famous sports drink.

It’s been a pretty good five-week run for Sounders forward Fredy Montero.

I caught up with Montero after training this week to talk about the benefits of staying hydrated with Gatorade, but the 25-year-old Colombian agreed to talk about almost any topic I wished. Our interview was completely in English, which Montero could not have done when he first came to Seattle in 2009.

“My wife has forced me to learn English,” he said with a laugh. “She doesn’t let me watch Spanish TV. Watching movies and interacting with her at home or her family has helped me learn everything I can here in the United States.”

Montero married Alexis Immig last April. The couple allowed NBC’s “MLS 36” to shadow them for a day and a half before the Sounders’ huge July match against Chelsea. Montero tried to prepare for the Blues by facing them in a video game.

“I actually have more tricks and skills in real soccer than I do in the video game,” he said. “In Xbox I just play one or two touches and pass the ball.”

Apparently it worked as Montero scored both Seattle goals against Chelsea. Last Saturday he was a substitute, scoring against Vancouver one minute after coming off the bench. Montero obviously wants to start every game, but said he carefully watches the defense for weaknesses.

Montero was invited to throw out the first pitch at last Tuesday night’s Mariners game at Safeco Field. He delivered a strike to catcher Jesus Montero and imitated the perfect-game celebration pose of Mariners ace Felix Hernandez.

Montero was hired by Gatorade to promote its “Beat the Heat” educational campaign, stressing the importance of staying hydrated before and during practices and games.

I asked the Sounders’ highest-paid designated player whether he ever dreamed he would be able to achieve all these amazing things in three short years living in Seattle.

“Never. Never,” he said. “I come from Colombia and the only thing I knew there was soccer. Here you get to watch another sport (baseball) and people love it. I never imagined how good my life was going to be here in Seattle. I thank God for the big opportunity, for the fans’ support. The organization has given me a lot and I’m happy to be part of the Seattle Sounders.”

Sigi Schmid told me in our Coach’s Corner interview that Montero will start Saturday night at Chivas USA. The Sounders are reasonably healthy with the exception of young midfielder Andy Rose, who suffered broken ribs from a harsh tackle in the Vancouver game.

Seattle tied Chivas 1-1 early in the MLS season, but blew out the same team 4-1 in U.S. Open Cup competition. Chivas has since added defensive midfielder Shalrie Joseph from New England. They’re still having trouble scoring goals and sit in seventh place in the Western Conference table. Seattle currently holds the third spot.

Matt Johnson hosts the pregame show at 7 p.m. Ross Fletcher and Kasey Keller have the play-by-play at 7:30 Saturday on 97.3 KIRO FM.

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