MLS Soccer

Martins’ productive month leaves him wanting more

September was a memorable month for Seattle Sounders FC forward Obafemi Martins, who scored five goals, broke the club single-season goals record and was honored as Major League Soccer player of the month.

“I remember when I came, trying to help the team score goals,” Martin said. ”I think that’s what I’m doing now. The 15 goals is not enough, for the team especially, because we need to be on top. We need to score more goals.”

That echoed coach Sigi Schmid’s reaction last week after Martins scored his 15th goal of the season, topping Eddie Johnson’s club record from 2012.

“We’ve still got more games to go, so let’s not write it in yet,” he said. “Clint (Dempsey) is right there close to him (with 13 goals), so we would like them both to get beyond what the old record was. I thought Oba played very well. ... We are very proud of him.”

Those 15 goals also mark the most in any professional season for Martins, whose career began in 2001 in Italy and has taken him through the leagues of England, Germany, Russia and Spain. He signed with the Sounders as a designated player in 2013, recording eight goals and four assists in his first MLS season.

After an offseason of rest, Martins leads the club in both categories. His 10 assists are two ahead of Dempsey and Lamar Neagle, and three off the team record set by Mauro Rosales in 2011 and 2012.

Together, the Martins-Dempsey forward combination has combined for 28 goals and 18 assists.

“They look for each other and know where each other are on the field,” Schmid said. “… They move for each other off the ball, and they trust each other and have confidence in that connection. … Certainly the talent level of these two individually could carry a front line for you. Together they are a real handful.”

U-23 CALL INS

Sounders forward Sean Okoli of Federal Way and Sounders Academy graduate Jordan Morris were among 21 players called up for the U.S. U-23 national team camp in Brazil. The group will train there Oct. 10-12 before meeting Brazil’s U-23 team Oct. 13.

“It’s nice,” Okoli said Friday. “I really just see it as a tool for me to get better moving forward. I know the (Olympics) is not for a couple of years, so I’m just making sure I’m ready for qualifying when that comes around.”

Okoli, 21, has made three appearances for the Sounders in this rookie season.

Morris, 19, is in his sophomore season at Stanford after playing with Pierce County-based Sounders U-23 over the summer. He has not revealed if he will follow Okoli by signing a homegrown contract with Seattle, although Schmid indicated the door is open.

“That’s in Jordan’s hands as to what he wants to do,” Schmid said. “He’s one of our Academy kids, and he’s always come back here in the summers and trained with us, so we have a good relationship with him. He’s been playing well, so at some point he’s going to have to decide which is the way to go.”

ADDED TIME

The Sounders concluded local training Friday at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila. On Saturday they will travel to Colorado for their noon Sunday match with the Rapids. … Schmid said midfielder Gonzalo Pineda (ankle) and defenders Leo Gonzalez (hamstring) and Zach Scott (ankle) are improving, but he indicated all are unlikely for this weekend.

  Comments