Unreal. Fun to watch. As good a streak as you'll see.
That is how Clint Dempsey's Sounders FC teammates and coaches describe his month of April, netting seven goals and two assists to lead Seattle to a 3-0-1 record. He had at least two goals or assists in all four April matches, leading Sounders FC to the top record in MLS at 5-2-1 and earning the Etihad Airways MLS Player of the Month honors.
"He's an unbelievable player," Sounders FC midfielder Osvaldo Alonso said. "When he has the ball, he's always creating opportunities for us and it's good for the team."
Things didn't start quite as spectacular in April though.
Through 84 minutes against the Portland Timbers in the first match of the month, Seattle trailed 4-2. After suffering a 2-1 defeat to the Columbus Crew one week earlier, Seattle was reeling and in need of a big performance to avoid dropping a second-straight match and handing Portland its first win of the season.
Two Dempsey goals later, Sounders FC had earned a come-from-behind draw against the club's biggest rivals, triggering a staggering turnaround that would lead to a three-game winning streak behind perhaps the best single month performance in club history.
In Seattle's five previous years in MLS, five different players had registered four goals in one month – Blaise Nkufo, Lamar Neagle, David Estrada, Eddie Johnson and Fredy Montero, who reached that feat twice. Montero also had six goals in one month in August of 2012, scoring in all four matches Seattle played that month.
Dempsey reached new heights with his seven goals, though.
Even the U.S. National Team captain hadn't reached that level in his illustrious career. In three seasons with the New England Revolution from 2004-2006, his best month was when he put up four goals and three assists in April of 2005.
During his stellar season with Fulham in 2011-12 in which he scored 17 goals, he scored four goals in a month four times, but never had an outburst like the seven he scored for Seattle this month.
"It's unreal. He's showing why he's one of the best American players to ever play the game. He's scoring week in and week out," Seattle defender Dylan Remick said. "For a defender it's just holding the other team to zero or one goal and you've always got a chance with players like that."
Sounders FC Sporting Director Chris Henderson recalls that remarkable season Cobi Jones turned in before the 1998 World Cup when he finished the year with 19 goals and 13 assists for the LA Galaxy in his best season in a storied MLS career. Henderson sees many of the same attributes in Dempsey this year.
"It's amazing to watch. Clint is getting ready for the World Cup – like Cobi Jones was in '98 and '02 when he scored a ton of goals," Henderson said. "I think you just turn it up a notch and the quality of his play is already there to begin with. It looks like he could score a hat trick every game the way he's playing."
For all of his personal success, though, Dempsey points to the team's success and the high level of play being put forth by the whole Seattle roster as Sounders FC moved into the top spot in the West with a busy month of May upcoming.
"It feels good. We're in a good rhythm as a team, we have a good locker room, and it think that shows on the field in our play," he said.
Dempsey's award marks the fourth time a Sounders FC player has earned MLS Player of the Month honors, joining Montero in March of 2009 and July of 2010 and Freddie Ljungberg in October of 2009.