While Clint Dempsey and DeAndre Yedlin steal most of the headlines on the Seattle Sounders, Obafemi Martins showed on Saturday why he remains the club’s most important player towards their MLS Cup hopes.
The former Newcastle United striker notched two goals and assist at home to Chivas USA to give his side a 4-2 win and consolidate their spot on top of the Western Conference with four matches left before the post-season.
Another dazzling performance further strengthening his case for league MVP, Martins now has 15 goals and 10 assists in 27 league games, with his brace breaking Seattle’s single-season scoring record of 14 set by Eddie Johnson in 2012.
The Nigerian front man already helped the club claim their fourth US Open Cup title in six seasons earlier this month and, having struck up an outstanding rapport with strike-partner Dempsey over the course of the campaign, Sigi Schmid’s side now look like an excellent bet to claim an unprecedented treble with Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup success.
Having originally arrived in the Pacific Northwest from Levante in March 2013 for $4 million, injuries restricted Martins to eight strikes in just 20 appearances during his first season with the Sounders, but the 29-yer-old Designated Player has since proven himself one of the best all-round forwards in the league with his blinding pace, predatory instincts and excellent link-up play.
Martins faces strong competition from the likes of league top-scorer Bradley Wright Phillips, Thierry Henry, Robbie Keane, Lee Nguyen, Diego Valeri and Joao Plata for the MVP award but, if he can produce a few more starring performances during the final weeks of the regular-season, then the accolade could well be his.