SEATTLE — For the first time in nearly a month, the Seattle Sounders had Obafemi Martins’ services at their disposal.
Although the Designated Player showed a bit of rust, failing to convert on any of several quality scoring chances, his presence was clearly appreciated in Saturday night's 2-1 win over Chicago. Despite having barely even trained since leaving the game against Toronto FC on Aug. 10 with an ankle injury, Martins still played 89 minutes and was able to help the Sounders win their fourth straight game.
"I wasn't expecting to play 90 minutes at all because I wasn't playing that good,” the Nigerian striker told reporters after the game. “But I'm all good now. I have to start doing well and do everything that they say."
Martins got off to a fast start, getting behind the Fire defense on two separate occasions in the first five minutes. But each time his shot came while trying to hold off a defender and Sean Johnson was able to make the saves.
He had an even better chance in the 15th minute. Taking a feed from Lamar Neagle for an open look from about 14 yards out, Martins lined up a shot that he probably finishes nine of 10 times. But showing a bit of the rust that had built up, he fired over the crossbar. (Watch video above.)
"It was very difficult for me because I didn't train for three weeks,” Martins said. “I just want to play on the team as usual and I'm glad that we won today."
While the missed chances were obviously not ideal, Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid seemed to think they helped open up the game. Martins was also active all over the field, winning five headers and being credited with five recoveries, both among the team leaders.
"It helps our team any time anybody is able to get opportunities — whether it's him or Lamar or whomever,” Schmid said. “What I like is our character. We kept plugging away, we kept battling, and we fought to the end of the game."
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