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Borchers Close, but Not Quite Player of the Month

When Omar Cummings unleashed a 30-yard frozen rope strike into the upper corner of the goal in front of Red Bull Arena’s South Ward on Sept. 11, you probably could have seen this coming. But now it’s official: Cummings is the MLS Player of the Month for September.

That strike won him Goal of the Week honors, and was one of six that he netted for the Colorado Rapids’ this month. Not bad for a player who missed one of his club’s five September tilts. The 28-year-old Jamaican missed out on last Saturday’s Rocky Mountain Cup draw against Real Salt Lake to rest his sprained left ankle.

It was rest well earned. In addition to four matches this month for the Rapids, Cummings made the trip down to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. to join the Jamaican national team for their match against Peru on Sept. 7, three days after he scored a brace against Chivas USA. Though international competitions aren't taken into account for the Player of the Month voting, Cummings thrived for the Reggae Boyz too, scoring his team's lone goal in Jamaica's 2-1 loss.

Four days later, Cummings was in New York to put his rocket of a goal past a diving Bouna Coundoul, giving him four goals in September’s first three matches overall. An impressive haul, but for good measure he notched a goal against the New England Revolution and a brace against the Philadelphia Union (as well as an assist in both matches) to cement the honor with 38 percent of the vote.

Real Salt Lake's Nat Borchers and New York's Dane Richards tied for second with 15 percent of the vote. One of the unsung heroes of RSL's historic 2010 campaign to date, Borchers provided veteran leadership - and even a rare goal - to help pace the squad to another undefeated month in September. The center-back provided a steady presence during the busiest stretch of games in team history, helping RSL to shutouts in MLS play against the high-powered attacks of New York (1-0 W), @ Seattle (0-0 T), and Chicago (1-0 W) while spearheading a constantly-shifting defensive rotation as the defending champs managed their roster while switching gears between League and CONCACAF play (which included 6 games in 18 days).

After RSL's 568-minute scoreless streak (now the 3rd longest in League history) was snapped against Colorado on Sept. 25, it was Borchers to the rescue on the offensive side late in the rivlary affair, his crashing header in the 93rd minute helping RSL to a 1-1 draw - a result that allowed RSL to match its longest undefeated streak on the season at 10 games, push its MLS-record home unbeaten run in League play to 24 games, and qualify the reigning champs for the MLS Cup Playoffs with four games to spare.