When broken down to the simplest of terms, the main objective of every striker is to score goals.
Just five appearances into his first season with the Sounders FC, Obafemi Martins has proven well up to the task in that regard, scoring three goals in just 205 minutes.
“Scoring goals is always important,” he said after scoring for a third straight game on Saturday in a 4-2 win over FC Dallas. “We can pass the ball around but the striker is why I am here – scoring goals. And it’s happening.”
Martins has had a particularly odd start to his season despite his early successes.
After a long negotiation, he was finally permitted to exercise a buyout option in his contract with Levante in Spain’s La Liga, allowing him to join the Sounders on March 15. He flew to Seattle that day and then made his first appearance 24 hours later in a 1-1 draw with the Portland Timbers before flying back around the world to Nigeria for a World Cup qualifying match.
There, he suffered a knee injury, but still pressed on when he returned to Seattle, making his first start on March 30 against Real Salt Lake. Still not 100-percent, he missed the next match before starting again against the Colorado Rapids, against whom he scored his first goal to propel the Sounders to a 1-0 victory, their first of the season.
However, his knee proved troublesome again and he missed Seattle’s next two matches. In his absence, Lamar Neagle and Eddie Johnson proved to be a strong forward combination and once Martins returned to the field again, it was off the bench, where he has thrived in the last two matches. Between them, the forward trio has accounted for seven of Seattle’s eight goals in home victories over the San Jose Earthquakes and FC Dallas, developing some keen chemistry along the way.
“I spoke to Lamar and Eddie and playing close to each other, because the more we pass the ball to each other it is easier to play,” Martins said. “We have been doing that in training, which is good. I'm happy for that because we did well.”
Martins is now nearing full strength and once he does he will undoubtedly return to the starting lineup for head coach Sigi Schmid and the Sounders. With Seattle’s next match coming on Sunday against the LA Galaxy at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., it allows him an extra day to prepare to play extended minutes as the Sounders look to continue their move up the Western Conference standings.
He has shown a great desire to get on the field and contribute for the Sounders and thus far has delivered. After their third straight win, extending their unbeaten streak to six games, though, Martins assured that there is more to come for him and the Sounders.
“I’m getting there,” he said. “When I first came I said I wanted to score a lot of goals and it’s happening now. I hope it continues to be like this, and the important thing is to win, to get the three points.”