Friday MLS Forecast - Week 20: Contemplating the future after an anticipated departure

Seattle general manager Adrian Hanauer planned for this eventuality from the moment Fredy Montero agreed to join Millonarios on loan earlier this year.

TUKWILA, Wash. – Fredy Montero left the Seattle Sounders with a desire to return to the Colombian national team fold and an eye on Europe. His displays in his native land – particularly in the Copa Libertadores – reflected his inconsistent, yet still productive, time in the Pacific Northwest.

Those performances eventually prompted Portuguese giant Sporting Lisbon to table a bid for his services. Sounders FC fans may have held out some hope that Montero might return to CenturyLink Field at the end of his loan spell if things went awry, but the reported seven-figure offer and the presence of three Designated Players on the roster dashed those dreams and paved the way for a deal likely to occur in short order.

“It's very, very close,” Seattle general manager Adrian Hanauer said after his side went through its paces on Thursday morning. “We'll announce it when it's 100 percent done.”

Montero's eventual move to Portugal will provide Seattle with a windfall, but it is not the sort of boon that will help the squad immediately. Hanauer said he expects the club will receive cash, not allocation money, once the deal is done.

Most sales produce at least some allocation money based on the club's cut of the fee (usually 66 percent of the haul, though it can vary depending on the situation), but the circumstances here – including the significant price paid to secure Montero's permanent services – differ from most moves. Hanauer declined to delve into the particulars behind the departure from the standard operating procedure, but he said he never expected to generate any funds for his squad by selling Montero.

“The way the rules have been structured in the past, there would have been almost no chance of getting allocation money,” Hanauer said. “It was only a slight nuance to the rule that, to be honest, is something that (I'm not sure) has even been publicly disseminated that might have given us some hope. I was never particularly confident that we would get allocation money. I think it's becoming a little bit more clear that we're not. As the deal gets done, if it's not allocation money, then it's cash that we're able to convert into the product as well.”

The club's uptick in form after a slow start to the campaign ensures the product remains as vibrant as ever. Osvaldo Alonso's impending return from injury should provide a further boost to the efforts, while another player or two could arrive as the summer progresses if the right option pops onto the radar and the salary budget permits.

Every subsequent alteration – yes, even Montero's exit – must move Sounders FC closer to its ultimate goal of lifting MLS Cup at the end of the campaign. Hanauer noted his side's recent form as a positive sign in the wake of the difficult opening period, but he also stated that it must serve as a platform for the larger goals still left to achieve.

“It's one game at a time, trying to collect points, trying to get ourselves into the playoffs and hopefully be peaking towards the end of summer when it's been proven that there's very little correlation between where a team finishes in the standings and how they do in MLS Cup,” Hanauer said. “We want to be peaking at the right time and have a good five or six games in the playoffs and try to win a cup.”

Last Forecast: 3/8 (38%)

This season: 63/148 (43%)


Philadelphia – Chivas USA (7:30 p.m.) – preview

Overview: The home side faces a rather tricky proposition against a Red-and-White side that has suddenly learned how to defend. Conor Casey must stamp his impact on the game in order for the home team to emerge victorious.

Prediction: Philadelphia win.


New York – Montréal (7 p.m., TSN2/RDS) – preview

Overview: Mike Petke and his players spent last weekend reflecting on a rather limp defeat against Colorado in midweek. They must improve significantly in order to collect maximum points from an Impact side that has wobbled a bit in recent weeks.

Prediction: New York win.

New England – Houston (7:30 p.m.) – preview

Overview: Both teams registered their desired victories last weekend. Houston, in particular, needed to stop the rut. The visitors could find it difficult to nab a second straight result given their recent troubles in front of goal and the Revolution's defensive prowess, though.

Prediction: New England win.

Sporting Kansas City – Toronto FC (8:30 p.m.) – preview

Overview: TFC boss Ryan Nelsen will likely send his team out to frustrate. Sporting must exhibit the necessary patience in light of that approach and find a way through those generally organized lines to procure the necessary result.

Prediction: Sporting Kansas City win.

FC Dallas – Real Salt Lake (9 p.m.) – preview

Overview: FCD coach Schellas Hyndman revealed David Ferreira is playing at less than 100 percent at the moment. Hyndman will need everything Ferreira can give in order to help pull FCD out of its funk.

Prediction: Draw.

San Jose – Seattle (10:30 p.m.) – preview

Overview: The expected returns of Osvaldo Alonso and Victor Bernardez should bolster both sides. But Alonso can rely upon a bit more aid from his teammates at this juncture.

Prediction: Seattle win.

Los Angeles – Portland (11 p.m., NBC Sports Network) – preview

Overview: This match constitutes a big test for the Timbers in the wake of the defeat to Columbus on Sunday. Caleb Porter's side has not had to respond to a defeat since March. And it must do so against the two-time defending champions without the services of the suspended Pa Modou Kah.

Prediction: Los Angeles win.


Vancouver – Chicago (7 p.m.) – preview

Overview: Will Mike Magee's strident words after the defeat to Sporting Kansas City last weekend exert the intended effect? Or will the Whitecaps continue their fine run of form after a first Cascadia Cup win against a Fire side stripped of the banned Daniel Paladini and Gonzalo Segares?

Prediction: Vancouver win.

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