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(Nickname needed) named MLS Player of the Month

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Fredy Montero has been doing a whole lot of smiling lately.
Fredy Montero has been doing a whole lot of smiling lately.

So, yes, that's the nickname I've bestowed upon Fredy Montero. We'll see if it sticks. (Hopefully sarcasm translates.)

Anyway, Montero has been absolutely killing it for about two months now, and the league has finally noticed. The North American Soccer Writers have named Montero its MLS Player of the Month. Montero racked up two goals and three assists in July and has now scored or assisted upon goals in the past eight matches, currently the longest streak in the league.

This comes directly on the heels of Montero weathering some pretty intense criticism regarding his effort. Most of us at Sounder at Heart have long believed that what was perceived as Montero's lack of effort was really his being played out of position. Right now, it doesn't matter.

Montero is playing with a freedom that is an absolute joy to watch. He has been the best player on the field in every game he's played since the team returned from the World Cup break. He's harassing opposing defenders with upfield pressure, he's finding open teammates and burying shots. Just as importantly, he appears to be emerging as the team's on-field leader, rarely coming out late in games and practically demanding to play in contests such as the CCL.

His seven goals are tied for the sixth most in the league, and only three players have more non-penalty kick goals than him (none of his are from the dot); his eight assists are tied for second most in the league. Montero and former Sounders teammate Sebastian LeToux (nine goals and seven assists) are the only two players in the top 6 in both areas.