Nkufo nabs Player of the Week honor
NEW YORK — It was a long time coming for Seattle Sounders forward Blaise Nkufo.
In his sixth league match since joining the Sounders following the 2010 World Cup, the 35-year-old Nkufo finally got his first MLS goals – three of them in fact – in a 4-0 win at Columbus to capture the MLS Player of the Week award for Week 25 as voted on by the North American Soccer Reporters (NASR).
“I’m a striker, that’s my job scoring goals,” Nkufo said. “That’s what I’ve done for the last 10 years and I’m here for that.”
Seattle’s Designated Player got off the schneid after four minutes of Saturday’s match at Columbus Crew Stadium, pouncing on a rebound from a Fredy Montero header.
On his second strike, Nkufo beat Crew midfielder Kevin Burns in the 39th minute on a penetrating move into the penalty area.
Nkufo registered his hat trick with 15 minutes remaining on a play that he started, leading left winger Steve Zakuani and converting the subsequent cross in the box.
WATCH: Full match highlights
“For him, getting the three goals was very important for his confidence and his self-value,” Sounders manager Sigi Schmid said.
Nkufo had missed the previous two league matches with a right knee contusion before coming back with a bang.
“Personally, I’m satisfied with my performance,” Nkufo said after Saturday’s game. “As a striker, to score goals you have to have your teammates provide you good assists. Tonight I thank Steve [Zakuani].”
The 35-year-old Swiss international becomes the third Sounders player in 2010 to win Player of the Week honors after Montero and Zakuani.
2010 MLS Player of the Week Winners
Week 1: Javier Morales (Real Salt Lake)
Week 2: Kenny Mansally (New England Revolution)
Week 3: Sebastien Le Toux (Philadelphia Union)
Week 4: Edson Buddle (LA Galaxy)
Week 5: Dwayne De Rosario (Toronto FC )
Week 6: Edson Buddle (LA Galaxy)
Week 7: Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy)
Week 8: Alvaro Saborio (Real Salt Lake)
Week 9: Emilio Renteria (Columbus Crew)
Week 10: Dwayne De Rosario (Toronto FC)
Week 11: Brek Shea (FC Dallas)
Week 12: Chris Pontius (D.C. United)
Week 13: Juan Pablo Angel (New York Red Bulls)
Week 14: Álvaro Saborío (Real Salt Lake)
Week 15: Justin Braun (Chivas USA)
Week 16: Sebastien Le Toux (Philadelphia Union)
Week 17: Steve Zakuani (Seattle Sounders)
Week 18: Juan Pablo Ángel (New York Red Bulls)
Week 19: Jeff Cunningham (FC Dallas)
Week 20: Javier Morales (Real Salt Lake)
Week 21: Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo)
Week 22: Fredy Montero (Seattle Sounders)
Week 23: Omar Cummings (Colorado Rapids)
Week 24: Alan Gordon (Chivas USA)
Week 25: Blaise Nkufo (Seattle Sounders)