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October 6, 2012 at 5:03 PM

Colombian media in town for Sunday’s game

colombia.jpgFredy Montero and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado have been popular Sounders the past couple days.

The reason? A handful of top Colombian journalists and media personalities are being hosted by MLS and the Sounders leading up to Sunday’s big game at CenturyLink Field.

Those visiting include Andrea Guerrero, a popular TV anchor for RCN (she’s got almost 200,000 Twitter followers); Olga Lucia Barona, the long-time sports editor of El Espectador (one of Colombia’s largest newspapers); Oscar Restrepo, a host of one the country’s most popular sports radio shows on RCN radio (also a contributor to ESPN Deportes Radio and Raza Deportiva); and Fabian Rozo, a journalist for the country’s biggest newspaper, El Tiempo.

So how does Montero feel about their visit?

“It’s good when the league tries to show them MLS is not what they’re thinking,” the forward said. “MLS is growing really fast and … they are going to see how good MLS is doing now — the speed of the game, how physical is the game.”

And does Montero think they’ll be surprised?

“Yeah, they are going to be surprised,” he said. “They are going to be excited to go back to Colombia and say to everyone over there, ‘It is time to change your mind about MLS.'”

I chatted with Rozo for a few minutes Friday and he said he’s been to a couple MLS games in New York and New England, but never in the Pacific Northwest. He was also already brought up to speed on the Sounders-Timbers rivalry.

“We expect a big game,” he said.

One of the big questions I had for Rozo was how Montero and Hurtado are viewed in Colombia having been in MLS for four years now.

Here’s Rozo:

“When Fredy started to play, he played at Deportivo Cali. It’s a popular team in Colombia, an important team in Colombia, and he always looked like a big top scorer. So we thought in that moment that he could go first to Europe, maybe Mexico, maybe Argentina, and when we knew that he was coming here, it was a surprise. But with time in Colombia, the press and the supporters think that it was a good decision because he’s grown up as a person, as a soccer player and, in this moment, we can say that he could be in the national team.”

Rozo went on to use Carlos Valdes as an example. The Philadelphia Union defender was called up for recent qualifiers by coach Jose Pekerman and performed well.

“The coach is looking in not only in MLS more, but in every league in the world,” Rozo said on Pekerman. “He thinks that if the player is playing well, it doesn’t matter if it’s MLS, Mexico, Argentina or Europe.”

So why has it been such a long wait for Montero?

“In the case of Fredy, he has a problem because there are great forwards (on the team),” Rozo said.

Quick brainstorming brought up the names Radamel Falcao of Atletico Madrid, Teofilo Gutierrez in Argentina, Jackson Martinez at FC Porto, Darwin Quintero at Mexico’s Santos Laguna and some others.

“They are great, great forwards,” Rozo said. “That is the only problem for Fredy. I think that with time, he could get a chance in the national team because he’s a great player. … He has to know that the moment could be later, but I know that Pekerman could call him.”

Based on position depth, Rozo said Hurtado even stands a chance of getting into the mix. One regular for example, Mario Yepes, is 36 years old.

FIFA World Cup qualifying in South America goes through October of 2013, so it’ll be something to keep an eye on.


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