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July 19, 2012 at 2:15 PM

Did Fredy Montero and Eddie Johnson have a punchup at practice earlier this season?

A common talking point during the Sounders’ national broadcasts recently has been the relationship at forward between Fredy Montero and Eddie Johnson. It was brought up a couple weeks ago when Arlo White and Kyle Martino had the call on the NBC Sports Network for the Colorado game (Montero started out on the bench). It was also brought up by Taylor Twellman in ESPN broadcasts Sunday in New York and Wednesday in the Chelsea friendly.

Much of it hasn’t been positive, and certainly there is a fair amount of credibility to the argument that the forward pair hasn’t been quite the partnership that could be.

I asked coach Sigi Schmid today for his thoughts on the Montero-Johnson relationship being a major talking point on these broadcasts.

“I guess they don’t have much to talk about, I don’t know,” Schmid said. “I don’t think it’s an issue. I’m their coach. I don’t see those (commentators) here at training. I don’t see those guys observing or sitting inside our team lounge or having lunch with us, so what they’re saying is — I don’t know — based upon what they think, what they feel, what they hear. But that’s what commentators are supposed to do. So some people like that, some people don’t. There are no issues.”

Martino in particular mentioned a punchup between the two forwards during a practice earlier this season. I asked Schmid if that was true.

“They’re probably not the only ones who had a punchup at practice,” Schmid said. “I’ve rarely had a team where that didn’t happen. When we won the MLS Cup in 2002 with the Galaxy, I think Danny Califf almost knocked out one of our guys about a week before the playoffs, and we still won a championship.

“Actually my youngest son reminded me when he came to visit me in 2008 there was a dustup between Frankie Hejduk and Stefani Miglioranzi. We had a college player in at training and Frankie was a little unhappy with what he did and laid a bad tackle on him and Stefani stood up for the college guy and they got into it. By the time they got in the locker room, everything was resolved.

“You’re going to compete. You’re going to be intense at practice. How many dustups are there at a Seahawks practice? I used to watch the Lakers all the time and they’d get into it in the days of Magic (Johnson) and those guys. It’s because you have competitive athletes who are competing or trying to win. The main thing is to make sure that it doesn’t carry over, that it doesn’t go beyond that. A lot of times it’s just, ‘Hey, I tried to beat you, you tried to beat me.’

“To make a long story longer, it was an interesting story because we were in Guadalajara and I was with the southern California state team. I was one of the coaches, so we got a coach’s game against Tecos’ old-timers team, as well. So my buddy was in goal, a guy I grew up playing soccer with. So I made a bad play and somebody had a shot and he made a great save. He comes up and he’s not mincing any words and cussing and screaming at me. And I’m telling him to go f-off and go back to goal and shut up, he’s just a stupid goalkeeper. So we’re going at each other and another guy was playing with us and he’s like, ‘Come on guys, relax.’ And we’re telling him to shut up. And we’re still going at it. This was like with about three minutes to go in the game. So the game ends three minutes later, we have a 3-3 tie and he and I are the first two guys in each other’s arms saying, ‘Great job! Well done!’ It’s like, ‘I thought you guy were really pissed.’ No, it’s just the way we always played. I’m demanding of him. He demanded of me. When I screwed up he let me know and when he screwed up I let him know, and at the end of the day we were the first guys to go out and have a beer together. It was a non issue.”

* * *

What do you think of an apparent punchup earlier this season between Fredy Montero and Eddie Johnson at practice?


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