MLS Moves: Montero joins Whitecaps in loan deal

The all-time leading scorer for the defending MLS champion is coming back to play for one of its greatest rivals.

Vancouver confirmed Wednesday it has finalized a loan deal with Chinese club Tainjin Teda for Colombian striker Fredy Montero, scorer of 60 goals in all competitions for Seattle in its first four MLS seasons (2009-12).

“I'm really excited, so happy, and feel blessed,” said Montero in a team press release. “I was looking forward to once again playing in Major League Soccer and I am so thankful to Whitecaps FC for giving me this opportunity. I can't wait to step onto the field, in front of the great Vancouver supporters, and start scoring goals.”

In league play Montero, 29, scored 47 goals, hitting double-digits in each season, and registered 34 assists. He was voted as Newcomer of the Year in 2009 and was named an All-Star three times. Since leaving MLS in 2013, he’s played for Millonarios, Sporting Lisbon and Tainjin Teda.

To obtain Montero’s MLS rights, the Whitecaps traded $100,000 in 2018 general allocation money, $125,000 of 2018 targeted allocation money, and an international roster slot for 2017 to Minnesota United in exchange for the No. 1 slot in the league’s Allocation Ranking Order. Seattle lost his MLS rights when it received a portion of the transfer fee when he was transferred to Sporting Lisbon in January, 2014.

“We have worked diligently throughout the offseason to strengthen the forward areas and today we have managed to add a very good striker in Fredy,” said Vancouver head coach Carl Robinson. “He has proven throughout his career to be an elite attacking player and consistent goalscorer, and he is already familiar with the league and environment. We look forward to seeing him on the pitch wearing the Blue and White.”

Montero began his professional career in 2005 with Deportivo Cali in his native country. He twice led the Colombian league in scoring and after playing for the Sounders on loan during the 2009 and 2010 seasons MLS acquired his rights in a transfer. He set a personal best of 13 goals in 2012, but expressed a wish to play elsewhere. The club loaned him first to Millonarios, for which he scored 10 goals in 27 games.

Another loan sent him to Sporting Lisbon, which eventually paid a transfer fee -- reportedly $3.25 million -- to obtain his rights. After scoring 37 goals and logging 12 assists in 94 appearances, he moved to Tainjin Teda last year in a deal reported to be worth 5 million euros ($5.4 million). He scored nine goals and three assists in 29 games for Tainjin Teda, which has loaned him out in part due to changes in foreign player limits for Chinese clubs.

The number of foreign players each team can field in a match has been reduced to three.

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