Montero thumbs up - at Portland

VANCOUVER, BC – Is it too early to start talking about the Golden Boot?


Yes.
Definitely.

Of course, if you know me by now, that means I’m going to do it anyway. Here are the current goalscoring leaders after the first quarter of the young 2017 MLS season.

<strong>PLAYER</strong>
<strong>TEAM</strong>
<strong>GOALS</strong>
<p>Erick Torres</p>
<p>Houston Dynamo</p>
<p>7</p>
<p>Cyle Larin</p>
<p>Orlando City SC</p>
<p>6</p>
<p>Diego Valeri</p>
<p>Portland Timbers</p>
<p>5</p>
<p>David Villa</p>
<p>New York City FC</p>
<p>5</p>
<p>Fanendo Adi</p>
<p>Portland Timbers</p>
<p>5</p>
<p>Christian Ramirez</p>
<p>Minnesota United FC</p>
<p>5</p>
<p>Josef Martinez</p>
Atlanta United FC
<p>5</p>
<p>Hector Villalba</p>
<p>Atlanta United FC</p>
<p>4</p>
<p>Justin Meram</p>
<p>Columbus Crew SC</p>
<p>4</p>
<p>Romain Alessandrini</p>
<p>LA Galaxy</p>
<p>4</p>
<p>Lee Nguyen</p>
<p>New England Revolution</p>
<p>4</p>
<p>CJ Sapong</p>
<p>Philadelphia Union</p>
<p>4</p>
<strong>Fredy Montero</strong>
<strong>Vancouver Whitecaps FC</strong>
<strong>4</strong>
<p>Nemanja Nikolic</p>
<p>Chicago Fire</p>
<p>4</p>
<p>Ola Kamara</p>
<p>Columbus Crew SC</p>
<p>4</p>
<p>Yura Movsisyan</p>
<p>Real Salt Lake</p>
<p>4</p>

Like I said, it’s early.


After all, there are 16 players within three goals of each other. As you’ve surely figured out by now, we’re going to talk about Whitecaps FC striker Fredy Montero, who is one of those 16 players. Vancouver’s new Designated Player striker has four goals in seven appearances so far this season.



Not bad, right?


It’s even more impressive when you consider he’s only started four of those appearances as he works up to peak fitness (he didn’t have a preseason prior to joining Whitecaps FC in mid-February), and that all four goals have come in the last four matches – most recently, converting his own rebound on a penalty Saturday afternoon against Portland Timbers.

Red-hot Montero finding his form: 'He does exactly what it says on the tin' -

Montero is actually averaging 0.80 goals per 90 minutes, which is the seventh best goalscoring rate in MLS this season if you exclude those who have played less than 100 minutes.


See below.

<strong>PLAYER</strong>
<strong>TEAM</strong>
<strong>GOALS PER 90 MINUTES</strong>
<p>Josef Martinez</p>
<p>Atlanta United FC</p>
<p>1.72</p>
<p>Will Bruin</p>
<p>Seattle Sounders FC</p>
<p>1.28</p>
<p>Erick Torres</p>
<p>Houston Dynamo</p>
<p>1.08</p>
<p>Cyle Larin</p>
<p>Orlando City SC</p>
<p>1.03</p>
<p>Roland Alberg</p>
<p>Philadelphia Union</p>
<p>0.91</p>
<p>Romell Quioto</p>
<p>Houston Dynamo</p>
<p>0.91</p>
<strong>Fredy Montero</strong>
<strong>Vancouver Whitecaps FC</strong>
<strong>0.8</strong>

It’s a small sample, of course.


And it’s not necessarily a sustainable level of production (Sebastian Giovinco, for example, is averaging 0.67 goals per 90 during his MLS career), but it’s still an exciting prospect for Montero, who averaged 0.45 goals per 90 in his first four seasons in MLS with Seattle. During that period, the Colombian earned three MLS All-Star selections and never scored fewer than 10 goals in a season.


His career-high? 13. Can he set a new one in 2017?


Watch this space.


“There’s still a lot more to come from Fredy,” Whitecaps FC head coach Carl Robinson said last week. “I think he’ll be first to admit he’s still trying to get his peak fitness. And I can’t wait to have a fit Fredy Montero, because he does exactly what it says on the tin.” 


Next up for Montero and the ‘Caps is a trip out east to face longtime Canadian rival Montreal Impact on Saturday afternoon at Stade Saputo (12 p.m. PT on CTV and TSN 1410 radio).