RENTON, WASH. – Seattle Sounders FC midfielder Freddie Ljungberg was voted Major League Soccer’s Player of the Month for October. Ljungberg recorded four assists while leading Seattle to a 3-0-0 record during the month, and a berth in the 2009 MLS Cup Playoffs.
Seattle entered the final month of the season with a 9-7-11 record and balanced precariously on the playoff bubble. With Ljungberg leading the charge, the Sounders rallied for nine points finished as the third seed in the Western Conference bracket. Ljungberg is the first Swedish player to win MLS Player of the Month. As it is a regular-season honor, this is the last MLS Player of the Month in 2009.
After defeating the Columbus Crew 1-0 on Oct. 3, the Sounders traveled to Kansas City on Oct. 17 in need of a victory. Down 2-1 early in the second half to the Wizards, Ljungberg led a Sounders attack that netted two goals in the final 25 minutes of play to capture the win and put Kansas City’s slim playoff hopes to bed. Ljungberg found a streaking Nate Jaqua in the middle of the penalty box in the 76th minute for the game-winner.
Seattle hosted FC Dallas on Oct. 24 in a do-or-die game for the Texas club. FC Dallas struck first when Atiba Harris fired a shot from 22 yards out that gave Dallas a 1-0 lead. With the home crowd behind them, Seattle rebounded for two goals in the second half. First Ljungberg wriggled out of pressure on the left flank and sent a cross to Fredy Montero, who slid to dish to Nate Jaqua for a tap-in goal. In the 85th minute, Ljungberg, the Swedish star recorded his second assist of the game when he found Brad Evans at the near post for a close range strike that sealed the victory.
Seattle finished the season 12-7-11 with 47 points and will face the Houston Dynamo on Thursday night at 10 p.m. ET (ESPN2, ESPN Deportes) in Game 1 of a Western Conference semifinal series. Ljungberg, who finished the regular season with two goals and nine assists, will look to break through a Dynamo defense that allowed a league-low 29 goals this season. Ljungberg has recorded one assist in his three previous meetings with the Dynamo. Kickoff for the first game of the home-and-home series is tonight at 10:25 p.m. ET at Qwest Field.
The Major League Soccer Player of the Month is selected following the last regular season game of each month by a panel of journalists from the North American Soccer Reporters (NASR). The group consists of members of print, television, radio and online media. More information and membership guidelines can be found at http://www.soccerreporters.com/.
2009 MLS Player of the Month Awards
March: Fredy Montero – Seattle Sounders FC
April: Brian McBride – Chicago Fire
May: Conor Casey – Colorado Rapids
June: Guillermo Barros Schelotto – Columbus Crew
July: Landon Donovan – Los Angeles Galaxy
August: Chad Marshall – Columbus Crew
September: Jeff Cunningham – FC Dallas
October: Freddie Ljungberg – Seattle Sounders FC