Player of the Week

Player of the week: Jamiro Monteiro

Photo: Paul Rudderow

Jamiro Monteiro wanted the pressure of the penalty. He wanted the ball, and he knew where it was going before he placed it on the six yard marker. The midfielder, clad in light blue, was alone with the goalkeeper on an April afternoon.

After the referee’s whistle blew, Monteiro started his run-up, struck with right foot, and sent the ball into the upper right quadrant of the net.

Monteiro’s penalty came in the fourth minute of stoppage time and secured a 2-2 come-from-behind road draw for Heracles Almelo against fellow Eredivisie side S.B.V. Excelsior. Two minutes had passed since the Cape Verdean international’s first tally of the match made that dramatic moment possible.

Monteiro couldn’t have known he’d have to wait much, much longer than two minutes for his next goal.

It finally came in Philadelphia Union’s 3-0 thrashing of Montreal Impact over the weekend, and the similarities were eerie: same month, same colored kit, and same coolly finished penalty into the same corner of the net.

“For me, it has been a long time since I scored a goal,” Monteiro told the reporters assembled in the Union’s locker room following the win. “I’m really happy to score my first goal for the club, especially during a home game.”

To be exact, the 25-year-old waited 367 days for that moment. And it’s been nearly as long of a wait for even the opportunity.

That penalty for Heracles capped off an impressive season for Monteiro. He’d featured in 37 games for the Dutch side and scored five times along the way. His stellar play secured a move to FC Metz in France’s second division before the start of the 2018-19 season.

For whatever reason, Monteiro couldn’t find a place in FC Metz’s lineup— making only three appearances for the club currently sitting atop their table and destined for promotion to France’s top flight, Ligue 1.

Philadelphia, who had previously flirted with acquiring Monteiro before his move to Metz, announced a short-term loan for the player on March 5, but he’d have to wait a bit longer to touch the field. Three games and 25 days passed with Monteiro stuck in transfer limbo. Delays from the French club in processing paperwork kept the midfielder sidelined.

When the time finally came to play, Monteiro’s quality flashed in two substitute appearances— so much so that Union manager Jim Curtin started No. 10 Marco Fabián as a second striker to create room in the lineup for Monteiro against Los Angeles Galaxy.

With the former unavailable due to injury for Saturday’s game with Montreal, Curtin played the latter as the No. 10 in a 4-2-3-1 formation. It was surprising given what was believed to be known about the player, thought to be more of a box-to-box midfielder, and attacking midfielder Brenden Aaronson’s form— who shifted to the left wing.

“Listen, every player has different qualities and traits they bring to the team,” Curtin said in his post game press conference. “Guys get asked to play in unique roles in Monteiro playing higher up the field.”

In that role Monteiro continued to show his quality. His closing speed and ball-winning ability in defense helped the Union overpower the Impact in the center of the field. For how well he played, it makes sense that Monteiro wasn’t altogether unfamiliar with the position.

“I’m still in the midfield, [but] I played more in front,” said PSP’s Player of the Week. “It’s not the first time playing the No. 10, so it’s not difficult. For me, it was good.”

And if there’s one thing No. 10s have, it’s confidence. When the moment came, Monteiro wanted the penalty. He grabbed the ball— not veteran midfielders Haris Medunjanin or Alejandro Bedoya, and not the opening goalscorer Cory Burke.

“Yeah, not a lot.” Monteiro responded when asked if he had a significant amount of attempts. “But every penalty I took was a goal.”

He’s at least made his last two.

Honorable mention
  • Matt Freese. This wasn’t his first game at Talen Energy Stadium. In fact, Homegrown goalkeeper Matt Freese was around for the Union’s first ever home game— in the stands as a fan. On Saturday, he made his debut for the club he supported as a kid.

2 Comments

  1. Gary Weber says:

    Agree. Jamiro is a revelation. Right up there with Wagner. He is not a depth player. He is a starter. Hope to see much more of him as we waltz into playoffs this year.

  2. It’s early, but this guy looks like he might’ve been an even better signing than Fabiàn.

    And Ernst Tanner is looking like a way better SD than Earnie Stewart.

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