Big players come up in big moments, and there sure were plenty of them in September as the playoff races continued.
There were several key performances over the course of the month, but five players stood out more so than the rest. Still, it will not be easy to decide which of these candidates is is most deserving of September's Etihad Airways MLS Player of the Month award.
Here's how it works: At the end of each month, the MLSsoccer.com editorial staff selects the five final nominees. You then vote to determine the winner. Voting for September's POTM will remain open until 10:00 am ET, Friday, Oct. 2.
Didier Drogba, Montreal Impact — He may have officially made his MLS debut in August, but September was when he really introduced himself to the league. Drogba had a dominant month, starting in five of Montreal's six games, scoring a whopping seven times, and adding an assist. His latest performance on Sept. 26 saw him net both goals in a 2-0 triumph over D.C. United.
Sebastian Giovinco, Toronto FC — The Atomic Ant was at it again this month. He continued to turn in game-changing perfromances--like the two-goal, one-assist outing in a 3-1 win over the Colorado Rapids on Sept. 19--to keep Toronto on pace for their first playoff berth. But Giovinco also set the single-season record for combined goals and assists, surpassing Chris Wondolowski's previous mark of 34. The Italian finished with three goals and two assists.
Kei Kamara, Columbus Crew SC —There was just no stopping Kamara in September. After missing Columbus' first game of the month, the red-hot forward returned to the lineup and scored in the ensuing three games. He wound up with four goals and one assist in three matches for Crew SC to head into the final month of the regular season as the Golden Boot leader. Kamara also became the only player to score against 21 different MLS clubs after finding the back of the net in a 2-1 loss to the Portland Timbers on Sept. 26.
Obafemi Martins, Seattle Sounders — The Sounders found their groove again, and it was the Nigerian striker who played a big part in that. Martins scored once in each of the four games he played while adding an assist to help the Sounders surge up the Western Conference standings. His biggest contribution may have come on Sept. 12, as he struck late to help the Sounders pick up a 1-1 road draw with the San Jose Earthquakes.
Lee Nguyen, New England Revolution — The veteran midfielder played some of his best soccer of the season in September, setting up five goals and scoring one to help pace the Revolution a 3-1-1 record. Nguyen's most impressive display came in the first game of the month on Sept. 5, as he delivered a hat-trick of assists in a 3-0 win over Orlando City.