Kicking the can on Fredy Montero’s MVP case


Steve brought it up in his Power Rankings. I’m here to add the next layer: Fredy Montero? Legitimate MVP candidate?

Let’s let Steve kick us off:

Fredy Montero has 12 goals and 6 assists. And his goals always seem to have that certain panache.  (Did you see that out-of-nowhere shot and goal in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Portland?) If the feisty Colombian attacker can boost that assist rate just a tad and add, say, two or three more goals over the Sounders’ final six matches, can’t we make a compelling argument for league MVP?

Absolutely we can, and I don’t think we need to wait until he tacks on a few assists. Watching games alone should tell you Fredy Montero should at least be considered. That compelling argument that we need goes something like this: Right now, he’s Major League Soccer’s best player.

That’s not a slam dunk. Reasonable minds can disagree on who’s MLS’s best at the moment, but Montero’s case is pretty clear. Goals like this Saturday’s against Portland are becoming remarkably common during the stretch run. Even when it’s teammates getting the nods, it’s Fredy doing the work. Eddie Johnson won Player of the Week last week, but it was Montero that was the game’s real star.

When you watch game after game and one guy is clearly so much better than everybody else, that’s an MVP case of its own. Does it need more support? Absolutely. That’s where the details, stats, and results come into play. But when you watch Fredy Montero play, there’s no doubt this guy is one of Major League Soccer’s elites.

By the numbers …

Steve brings up one of two mitigating issues: Statistics. Montero’s 12 goals are tied for sixth in the league. Among MVP candidates, only Chris Wondolowski and Thierry Henry have more (unless you consider Eddie Johnson a candidate). When it comes to the game’s most important stat, Montero’s going to have much of the MVP field beat.

But as Steve points out, it would be nice if Montero had more assists, even if his six already put him 17th in the league. Adding more might be a bit of a problem, though, considering the talent Montero has around him. After all, only one, maybe two players can have assists on a given goal, and when you’re not the guy delivering corners or providing service from set pieces, you’re already missing out on a lot of easy helpers.

Montero does some dead ball duty in Seattle, but usually only when the ball’s going to be put on goal (or injuries cast him into the role). Mauro Rosales and, since being acquired, Christian Tiffert are the men responsible for putting in the dead ball crosses. Add in the amount of time Rosales is on the ball in open play and the same qualities that make Seattle such a strong team end up keeping Montero’s assist numbers down.

Does that make Montero a better, worse, or even less productive player? Not really. In this case, we need to look beyond the numbers. Whether voters will do that is an entirely different issue.

Battling perception

The second mitigating issue is perception, one I’ve addressed before in this space (so forgive me for beating a dead horse on this one). Every year around June there’s a feeling that Montero is not playing as well as he could. Some reference potential. Others cite the need to step up.’s Jonah Freedman discussed the issue earlier this summer, and ProSoccerTalk’s own Noah Davis jumped in that camp.

A guy who averages double-digit goals and eight assists per year (over four years) doesn’t need to step up. This is a problem of perception. We need to step down.

Montero burst on the seen so quickly and at such a young age, we all projected him for super stardom. Maybe it was our baseball-esque need to escalate young players’ numbers into the future. Maybe we just saw something we thought would explode, but just because he hasn’t put up a 17-goal, 15-assist season doesn’t mean he isn’t one of the league’s best players. What it probably means is that we got a little bit too excited, too soon about one of MLS’s brightest talents.

Judged independent of those perceptions, Montero has an unimpeachable career, unless you want to condemn all players who have swoons within seasons. But to do that would be to indict everybody in the league. The season is long and congested. Players go through spells.

Landon Donovan, Dwayne De Rosario – why am I listing names? This will go on forever. Every player in the league his high points. They also have lows. They’re subject to the save variations for which Fredy Montero gets criticized.

And it’s not fair. It’s not fair to hold Montero subject to a standard that we don’t use for everybody else. And it’s also unfair that Montero’s inability to meet that standard – the perception that his performance varies more than his peers – is so pervasive as to cloud his MVP candidacy.

So Montero didn’t immediately build on his 12-goal, seven-assist rookie season?  The seasons that have followed (all in line with his first) have made him one of the league’s standout players. At the point we’re asking for more than that, we need to reevaluate our standards.

And once those standards are reevaluated, you start to see what Montero is doing. Right now, he’s doing more than anybody in the league. When you watch him play, it’s difficult to fathom a better player in Major League Soccer.

Does that make Montero the league’s MVP? Does it make up for the edge other candidates had coming into the season’s final months? That’s what this debate is about, but surely, at this point, Montero’s earned his spot in the discussion.

Reports: Tottenham Hotspur to hire Celtic’s Ange Postecoglou as next manager


Multiple reports say that Ange Postecoglou will be leaving Celtic to become the next manager of Tottenham Hotspur.

Celtic had reportedly granted permission for Spurs to speak with their trophy-collecting boss, and things apparently progressed quickly as the 57-year-old looks set to oversee the club’s big rebuild.

[ MORE: Recalling Zlatan’s “unicorn” career ]

Spurs suffered through an inconsistent 2022-23 season with Antonio Conte at the helm, followed by Cristian Stellini and Ryan Mason in interim stints.

Tottenham will not have European football this season and is at risk of losing legendary center forward Harry Kane. The club has eight players including Kane going into the final year of their contracts, including Ivan Perisic, Davinson Sanchez, Eric Dier, and Hugo Lloris.

Spurs finished eighth last season, 15 points off the top four despite spending much of the season inside of it. The club’s finished fourth just once in the past four seasons despite qualifying for the Champions League the previous four seasons.

Ironically, Celtic is being linked with pursuit of Brendan Rodgers and Jesse Marsch if Postecoglou departs this week.

Who is Ange Postecoglou?

Postecoglou, 57, was born in Greece and moved to Australia at a young age, starring for South Melbourne as a player and earning for caps for the Socceroos.

He is coming off a domestic treble with Celtic and won five of six trophies available to him in his two seasons with the Bhoys.

At Celtic, Postecoglou played with a 4-3-3 for much of the first half of his tenure but played a lot of this campaign in a 4-2-3-1.

Postecoglou won trophies as a manager with South Melbourne, Brisbane Roar, and Yokohama F. Marinos, claiming the Asian Cup during his stint as Australia national team coach.

He said he expects tricky early times wherever he goes.

“Wherever I’ve been, the initial part is always rocky, because my ideas are… well they’re not extreme to me but I can see how they can be seen as extreme from the outside. It takes a while. Usually it can take me six months, it can take me a year to really bed them in, depending on how many opportunities I have to change the playing squad and the staff and all those kinds of things.”

Five players to watch in the Premier League’s summer transfer window


There’s going to be turnover in the Premier League this offseason, and it seems likely the big boys will again be looking to the top young talents in other leagues to get in when the getting is good.

There will be big price tags attached to some players this summer, but in the case of the players below we may be talking about players just a window away from having unattainably high price tags for most clubs.

[ TRANSFER NEWS: Arsenal | Liverpool | Chelsea | Tottenham | Man City | Man United ] 

Most of these names have danced through ProSoccerTalk‘s transfer rumor mill at least once during the past season or two, and in one case have been on the radar for a half-decade or so.

Here’s a look at five players who may well find their way to the Premier League in the very near future, and could move somewhere this summer.

Xavi Simons, PSV Eindhoven

At times the teen hype around Xavi Simons coming out of Barcelona’s academy was akin to the recruitment of Martin Odegaard out of Norway so many years ago. But Simons couldn’t break through at Barca and his move to Paris Saint-Germain didn’t take off as expected. So Simons, who just turned 20 in April, landed at PSV Eindhoven. All he did was lead the Eredivisie in goals. PSG has a buyback clause but Simons would have to want to go there… and there are plenty of rumored suitors for the playmaker. Simons chipped in eight assists and was Fotmob’s highest-rated Eredivisie player.

Possible fits: Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool

Jurrien Timber, Ajax

Still 21 for a couple more weeks, Timber got Mancunian tongues wagging when he attended the FA Cup Final between Manchester United and Manchester City. The star center back played under United boss Erik ten Hag at Ajax and now has 15 caps for the Netherlands senior team. He has a ridiculous passing and ball progression profile for his position, and has showed enough attacking acumen to get any team excited about him.

Possible fits: Manchester United, Manchester City

Randal Kolo Muani, Eintracht Frankfurt

The 24-year-old has acknowledged dreams of playing in the Premier League following a blockbuster first season at Eintracht, where he scored 23 goals with 17 assists amongst all competitions. Moving to a new country did not slow him at all after his time at Nantes, and he was linked with a number of PL sides even before he admitted his interest in the league.

Possible fits: Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United

Sepe Elye Wahi, Montpellier

The 20-year-old nearly scored as many goals as his age in his third season with Montpellier’s first team, and has attracted interest from Paris Saint-Germain, Arsenal, and Chelsea amongst others. Wahi is still very raw when it comes to passing the ball but part of his statistical deficiencies could have to do with his club’s relative struggles. A eager presser, his best traits are finishing and that’s the stat that drives the bus for him.

Possible fits: Tottenham, Chelsea, Arsenal

Gabriel Veiga, Celta Vigo

Here’s another playmaker linked with Arsenal, but you can see why he could fit in Mikel Arteta’s system. His 11 goals were 13th in La Liga this season and his four assists means he had a goal contribution on 15 of Celta’s 43 league goals. An eager dribbler, he delivered 80 shot creating actions this season and ranked in the 99th percentile for midfielders when it came to non-penalty goals.

Possible fits: Newcastle, Arsenal, Man CIty

How many times has a team won the treble? Man City goes for history


There’s been a lot of treble talk these days, talk that’s found a new level of buzz since Manchester City moved within one win of joining the club.

It’s an elite club, by the way, of teams that have won their domestic league, top domestic cup, and the European Cup.

Nine times in history has a team won the treble, and only once has it been done by a Premier League club.

[ MORE: Recalling Zlatan’s “unicorn” career ]

That’s why Man City’s defeat of Manchester United earlier this month in the FA Cup Final rings so true for the Citizens; The blue side of Manchester would join the red side as treble supporters, as United won the treble in 1998-99.

Man City goes for the third jewel of its treble crown on Saturday versus Inter Milan in Istanbul when it kicks off the UEFA Champions League Final.

For more treble trivia, head below the jump.

How many times has the treble been won?

Bayern Munich and Barcelona have each done it twice, with Bayern doing it in 2012-13 and 2019-20 and Barca pulling it off in 2008-09 and 2014-15.

Celtic was the first to win a treble, doing it in 1966-67, while Ajax was the next in 1971-72.

PSV Eindhoven then won it in 1987-88 before Man United made it happen 11 years later. Inter Milan is the only Italian team to pull it off, winning in 2009-10.


Manchester City vs Inter Milan: How to watch Champions League Final, odds, predictions


Manchester City is on the chase for a historic treble and standing in the way is Inter Milan, one of Europe’s precious few clubs to claim such an honor.

[ LIVE: Manchester City vs Inter Milan ]

The Premier League winners three times running have an FA Cup under their belt after beating Manchester United on June 3 and the final jewel in their treble crown awaits with a win in Istanbul on June 10.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

Pep Guardiola could lead a second club to a treble after he did it with Barcelona in 2008-09, and they would give heated rivals United domestic company on the treble stage right down the road.

Guardiola says it’s now okay to talk about the treble. We agree, and we’ve laid out why the achievement is so special after the jump.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Manchester City vs Inter Milan.

How to watch Manchester City vs Inter Milan live, stream link and start time

Dates: 3pm ET June 10, 2023
Online: Live updates via
How to watch: TUDN, Paramount+

What Premier League clubs have won the treble?

Manchester United won the Premier League, FA Cup, and Champions League in 1998-99.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s Red Devils are the lone Premier League club to win it.

That’s it. For now.

How many times has the treble been won?

Nine times in history has a team won its domestic league, top domestic cup, and the European Cup.

Bayern Munich and Barcelona have each done it twice, with Bayern doing it in 2012-13 and 2019-20 and Barca pulling it off in 2008-09 and 2014-15.

Celtic was the first to win a treble, doing it in 1966-67, while Ajax was the next in 1971-72.

PSV Eindhoven then won it in 1987-88 before Man United made it happen 11 years later. Inter Milan is the only Italian team to pull it off, winning in 2009-10.


Champions League Final odds (Betting odds provided by our partner, BetMGM )

BetMGM is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on BetMGM for the first time after clicking our links. 

Man City (-250) vs Inter Milan (+625) | Draw over 120 mins (+380)

Over 2.5 goals (-160). Under 2.5 goals (+110)

Champions League Final predictions

Joe Prince-Wright: Man City 2-1 Inter Milan
Andy Edwards: Man City 3-1 Inter Milan
Nick Mendola: Man City 2-0 Inter Milan

Manchester City team news, injuries, lineup options


Inter Milan team news, injuries, lineup options

QUESTIONABLE: Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Joaquin Correa. OUT: Dalbert.