Last week in AS Monaco’s Coupe de France match against Monts, Radamel Falcao went down in the 40th minute after a tackle by Soner Ertek. He had to leave the field on a stretcher. The next day, Falcao was diagnosed with having a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left leg. Monts d’Or Azergues Foot, commonly known as Monts, is an amateur club playing in France’s fourth division called Championnat de France amateur, which is below Ligue 1, Ligue 2, and the Championnat National. So, why was Falcao even playing? I understand that it was a Cup match, but Monaco has more than enough firepower to handle a fourth division club. Emmanuel Rivière has the same number of goals as Falcao, and two other forwards, Yannick Ferreira Carrasco and Lucas Ocampos, have also contributed with key goals. Falcao’s chances of playing in this summer’s World Cup are now in major jeopardy with the tournament being only six months away. As he went down, so did Colombia’s odds at having a successful World Cup run. Colombia is a great team and finished second in the CONMEBOL 2014 World Cup Qualification, but replacing their best player and leading goal scorer will be extremely tough to overcome.
Who could serve as Falcao’s replacement? Well, what about Fredy Montero, the former Seattle Sounder? Montero has recently been making a name for himself at Sporting Lisbon scoring 16 goals in his first 18 appearances with the club. He’s been on a goal scoring tear since being loaned to Lisbon July of 2013, and has caught the attention of Colombian officials. According to The Seattle Times, Colombian national team head coach Jose Pekerman speaks highly of Montero and even went to Portugal for several weeks to observe him. Montero has not scored in the last four league games. Ending the goalless streak and continuing to score goals would help improve his World Cup stock as summer approaches. He needs to continue to rack up goals because there’s another Colombian player who’s also trying to impress Pekerman. Adrian Ramos of Hertha BCS currently leads the Bundesliga with 11 league goals through 18 games. Ramos and Montero have been making waves in Europe, but they’re still at the end of the pecking order, according to Colombian newspaper El Tiempo. Ramos has been impressive, but has not had a national team cap since Pekerman became coach in January of 2012, which may benefit Montero. The two find themselves behind Teófilo Gutiérrez, Jackson Martínez, Carlos Bacca, Luis Muriel, Dorlan Pabón, and Carlos Quintero. Gutiérrez and Martínez have been frequently included in Colombia’s first squad, while Bacca, Muriel, Pabón, and Quintero have all appeared in World Cup Qualification matches in late 2013.
Playing well in the Portuguese Primeira Liga well certainly benefit Montero, but he needs to outshine those players who sit ahead of him in the pecking order. He’s scored 13 goals through 16 league games, and he needs to finish strong as the season comes to an end. I believe a total of around 25 goals in all 30 league games would help solidify his case for the World Cup and show he can compete at a highly competitive level. Along with a hot hand, Montero can only hope Bacca, Muriel, Pabón, Quintero, and Ramos slip up and open the door to allow him to sneak in to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.