Jan 23, 2014, 7:48 PM EDT
José Pekerman already had Fredy Montero in his sights, but with Colombia’s wealth of attackers, it has been difficult for the former Sounders standout to find room. Radamel Falcao, Jackson Martínez, and Teó Gutíerrez have been automatics, and with James Rodríguez also capable of playing an advanced role, the Monaco midfielder offsets the need to select too many forwards. With Carlos Bacca, Carlos Darwin Quintero and Luis Muriel all receiving call ups since October, somebody like Montero has a lot to wade through to make it to shore.
Needless to say, Falcao’s injury changes things. Without their primary scoring threat, Colombia’s going to have to rethink everything, potentially shaking up how Pekerman organizes his team. The Cafeteros’ boss could just slide Martínez into his starting XI next to Gutíerrez, persisting with the same approach with which he finished South American qualifying. He could also decide a tendency to set up with two-striker approach playing to Falcao’s strengths needs to be reevaluated, perhaps leaving the door open for a 26-year-old whose 13 goals for Sporting Lisbon are tied for Portugal’s lead.
Unfortunately for Montero (and Pekerman), there’s almost no time for experimentation. National teams will be able to get together for one game in March. Beyond that, the only games teams will play before May will be without their European players, who will be obliged to their clubs. If the Argentine coach does need to overhaul his setup, he’ll be picking up the pieces as he arrives in Brazil.
That’s where somebody like Montero can help. As opposed to some of the other players who’ve already been called in, there’s a versatility to his game that could allow him to adapt to whatever solutions Pekerman’s forced to employ. He can play along the line, serve his role in a partnership, or be used as more of a creator while deployed in a withdrawn role. If Pekerman needs all options on the table when Colombia arrives in Brazil, Montero can provide them, perhaps more so than players like Bacca, Muriel or Quintero.
Unfortunately for Montero, the depth of Colombia’s attack and the size of FIFA’s World Cup rosters (23 men) means Pekerman doesn’t have to settle for a utility knife. If he wants an out-and-out forward, Bacca or Muriel might be better options. If he decides an on the ball playmaker will be more important in the absence of Falcao, Rodríguez and Macnelly Torres are already regulars in the squad. Whatever needs end up surfacing in the wake of Falcao’s injury, it’s unclear the answer is Fredy Montero.
Of course, there is another, more obvious need we haven’t addressed: goals. With 20 goals in 50 international appearances, Falcao was Colombia’s only established international scoring threat. Though Gutíerrez has 11 goals in 27 appearances, the Cafeteros will still need to identify somebody to replace Falcao’s scoring.
Carlos Bacca has nine goals for Sevilla this year, and Martínez has a share of Portugal’s scoring lead with 13 goals in 16 games. Along with Montero, they’ve been Colombia’s most productive non-Falcao Europeans.
But as the person who shares Portugal’s scoring lead with Martínez, Montero has a case to make. If 13 goals in Portugal are good enough for Martínez to be a lock, why can’t they earn Montero one of the last spots in Colombia’s squad?
Alex Carson (@crashcarson15) January 24, 2014
Apr 24, 2015, 7:46 PM EDT
The Baggies must defend The Hawthorns as Liverpool is barely clinging on to top-four dreams.
Apr 24, 2015, 6:30 PM EDT
Clinging onto safety in the Premier League, Hull City players now have some added incentive to avoid the drop.
Apr 24, 2015, 5:37 PM EDT
Still in his first season as manager at Old Trafford, LVG has already endorsed his top assistant to be the next in line.
Apr 24, 2015, 4:42 PM EDT
Can Tim Sherwood and Aston Villa continue their climb up the table at the Etihad?
Apr 24, 2015, 3:42 PM EDT
PST’s Joe Prince-Wright sat down with the Southampton defender to see how the Saints’ skipper has evolved into one of the best center-backs in the Premier League.
Apr 24, 2015, 2:50 PM EDT
In the latest PST Extra we take a quick look at why whispers about managers losing their jobs at Liverpool, Man City are getting louder.
Apr 24, 2015, 2:06 PM EDT
PST’s Lead Writer and Editor predicts the scores in the PL this weekend.
Apr 24, 2015, 1:25 PM EDT
Spurs are reportedly in talks with the NFL about housing a franchise in their new stadium.
Apr 24, 2015, 12:30 PM EDT
What do you think of these 11 players getting Team of the Year honors?
Apr 24, 2015, 11:19 AM EDT
Where and how to watch every PL game during Week 34.
Apr 24, 2015, 10:15 AM EDT
Mourinho stirs the pot before huge clash with Arsenal on Sunday.
Apr 24, 2015, 9:25 AM EDT
Can Saints get revenge on Pochettino as he returns to St Mary’s? Watch live, Saturday, 7:45 a.m ET.
Apr 24, 2015, 8:10 AM EDT
Jose Mourinho has delivered an update on Costa’s progress ahead of Sunday’s big game.
UEFA Champions League semifinal draw: Guardiola’s Bayern get Barcelona; Real Madrid take on Juventus
Apr 24, 2015, 7:31 AM EDT
Former Barca boss Guardiola is heading back to the Nou Camp for the UCL semis.
Apr 23, 2015, 11:17 PM EDT
Mauricio Pochettino feels that any team not having to contend with Europa League has a better chance of qualifying for Champions League.
Apr 23, 2015, 10:13 PM EDT
Hands off our Pep, Man City. Bayern exec says Guardiola is going nowhere.
Apr 23, 2015, 9:17 PM EDT
Sporting KC vs. Real Salt Lake is inching ever closer to Most Hated Rivalry in MLS.
Apr 23, 2015, 7:21 PM EDT
It’s the biggest game of Chelsea’s season, and Mourinho might have to start a 17-year-old at striker.
Apr 23, 2015, 6:11 PM EDT
With the return of Bale and Benzema imminent, Ancelotti seems to think Real Madrid are the Champions League favorites.
Apr 23, 2015, 5:05 PM EDT
And then there were four. Four teams remain in the 2015-16 Europa League.
- Premier League Preview: West Bromwich Albion vs. Liverpool 0
- SportsWorld: Jose Fonte talks playing with Ronaldo, shares thoughts on MLS 0
- Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks: Time for the underdogs to shine 0
- WATCH: NBC Sports’ Premier League TV schedule – Week 34 0
- Jose Mourinho: “Arsene Wenger is not my rival” ahead of Arsenal vs. Chelsea 5
- UEFA Champions League semifinal draw: Guardiola’s Bayern get Barcelona; Real Madrid take on Juventus 0