With only one goal in the Seattle Sounders' last 10 matches, it's been looking like a subpar season for star forward Fredy Montero. Until Sunday.
The Colombian's two goals fueled a come-from-behind 3-2 win by Seattle on the road against archrival Portland Timbers, earning Week 17 Player of the Week honors as voted on by the North American Soccer Reporters. The result lifted the Sounders to second place in the Western Conference, just four points behind the LA Galaxy.
His fourth and fifth goals of the campaign were both second-half equalizers. The first came on a 57th-minute direct free kick and that was followed by a poacher's strike on an inviting cross by teammate Mauro Rosales in the 74th minute.
Seattle manager Sigi Schmid had been critical of Montero's lack of scoring earlier this season but the effort was not lacking on Sunday at JELD-WEN Field. He was as aggressive as his teammates have seen him, with eight shots including five on goal.
"He was getting himself in front of the goal," Sounders forward Roger Levesque told the Seattle Times. "Whereas maybe in previous games, maybe he would have just coasted in and stood at the top of the box and hoped for the best. He was making that little extra effort, getting into a good spot and then letting his technical ability and talent shine through."
"I think he's starting to realize that a little more effort, a little more concentration, can make that difference. He's starting to put that extra work in, and he can be the best player on the field. He's got so much talent. I'm excited to see where it takes him."
The last Player of the Week award for Montero came in Week 22 of last season. He's the second Seattle player to capture the honor this year after Jeff Parke in Week 10.
WATCH: FULL MATCH HIGHLIGHTS - POR 2, SEA 3
2011 PLAYER OF THE WEEK WINNERS
Week 17: Fredy Montero (Seattle Sounders)
Week 16: Joel Lindpere (New York Red Bulls)
Week 15: Mike Magee (LA Galaxy)
Week 14: Bernardo Anor (Columbus Crew)
Week 13: Steven Lenhart (San Jose Earthquakes)
Week 12: Jean Alexandre (Real Salt Lake)
Week 11: Justin Mapp (Philadelphia Union)
Week 10: Jeff Parke (Seattle Sounders)
Week 9: Justin Braun (Chivas USA)
Week 8: Joao Plata (Toronto FC)
Week 7: Will Bruin (Houston Dynamo)
Week 6: Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy)
Week 5: Luke Rodgers (New York Red Bulls)
Week 4: David Ferreira (FC Dallas)
Week 3: Camilo (Vancouver Whitecaps)
Week 2: Javier Morales (Real Salt Lake)
Week 1: Omar Bravo (Sporting Kansas City)