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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.”

POLL: Who was the most clutch player in Wk. 25?

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)

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