Seattle Sounders forward Obafemi Martins says he’s enjoying his football more than ever in MLS, particularly his strike-partnership with fellow ex-Premier League veteran Clint Dempsey.
Arriving in Seattle from Levante in March 2013 for $4 million, Martins netted eight times in 20 games during his inaugural MLS campaign, but has pushed on in 2014 to record 17 goals and 13 assists, breaking the club’s single-season scoring record and establishing himself as one of the front-runners for the MVP award.
Rewarded a multi-year contract extension this week on his 30th birthday, the former Newcastle United and Birmingham City front man admits that it took some time to adjust to life in the USA, but now can’t see his future anywhere else.
‘I’m glad I’m still going to be with the team for a long time,’ Martins was quoted on MLSsoccer.com. ‘I feel at home here so I hope to continue doing well and helping the team.
‘I enjoyed the time I played in Europe, but the fact I’m here, I think I’m enjoying my game more. The fact that I’m doing well, scoring goals, I’m glad. I’m happy.
‘When Dempsey came last year I had never played with him,’ he added. ‘It’s been way different. We try to play with each other and help each other out, and that’s what we did this season. It really helps.’
With Dempsey also grabbing 15 goals and 10 assists of his own this season, Seattle are on course for a historic domestic treble, having won both the US Open Cup and Supporters’ Shield titles over the past two months.
The club are now the favourites to add a first-ever MLS Cup to that collection heading into the play-offs, and owner and general manager Adrian Haneuer believes the key reason for their success is their dynamic duo up top.
‘The pairing with Clint has been massive,’ he said. ‘Probably the best pairing in MLS, and it helps us win games and championships. I’m not sure there’s much more to it than that.’