Martins ready to use World Cup disappointment as motivator with Sounders

Obafemi Martins had every reason to be upset when Nigeria announced the 30-man preliminary World Cup roster and didn't include his name.

Martins has 18 goals in 39 career appearances for Nigeria. He was on the roster with the team that disappointed at the 2010 World Cup, earning just one point in the Group Stage before being eliminated. He is currently playing at a high level for Sounders FC, with four goals and a league-leading six assists through 11 matches. Yet when the World Cup starts in June, he will still be with Sounders FC while his countrymen face Bosnia and Herzegovina, Argentina and Iran in Group F. So in his mind, CenturyLink Field will become Arena de Baixada, Arena Pantanal and Estadio Beira-Rio.

"If they're going to the World Cup, I'll play my own World Cup with the Seattle Sounders. I'm happy to be here," Martins said after training on Thursday.

It's a great mentality to have for the volatile striker.

With Clint Dempsey away with the U.S. National Team, all eyes turn to Martins to fill the goal-scoring void with Sounders FC, and thus far it's a role that he has embraced.

Martins started his Sounders FC career on a tremendous hot streak, scoring six goals in his first 636 minutes with Seattle over 10 appearances. Afterward, his scoring pace slowed as he became fatigued and injured. At the start of this season, he has shown a return to that form and a newfound vigor on the field, combining with Dempsey like longtime teammates.

He will look to combine similarly with the likes of Lamar Neagle, Kenny Cooper and anyone else that takes the field in an attacking role for Sounders FC, though he may also look to take up more of a scoring role in Dempsey's absence.

I play my role always. I do my best every time. We're going to miss them, but still, we have to keep going," Martins said. "I'm a striker. I always love to score goals. With what I'm doing right now, I'm doing well. But I need to be doing better and try to score more goals."

Martins has maintained ever since joining Sounders FC in March of 2013 that he would like to be involved with the Nigeria National Team. However, he has made just two appearances since the 2010 World Cup and now may have trouble getting back into the team after the World Cup concludes.

He doesn't begrudge Keshi for giving opportunities to younger players, though, as he was given opportunities to play at a young age, too.

"If I'm not there now, they have other young players that are good to play. If they think there are better players to take there, why not?" Martins said. "I have a team. My team is here and I'm enjoying it. I'm happy to be a Sounders player."

Topics: