The Sounders put in an impressive shift against the Eastern Conference club on Wednesday night.
It was a hard-fought three points on Wednesday night as Sounders FC ousted D.C. United, 2-0, for the fourth-straight home win at CenturyLink Field. Obafemi Martins scored two goals, one on a slick pass from Brad Evans in the first half and the second on what head coach Sigi Schmid called “heart and determination.”
Here are four things we learned from the match.
No place like home
There were 39,180 fans in attendance on Wednesday for Seattle’s win – the third-largest crowd of the season behind the Portland and Vancouver matches. All teams have a special bond with their fans, but with stands packed in numbers that high, Sounders FC feel an extra rush and they have done well in rewarding those fans with goals and wins this season. The win on Wednesday was a club record fourth-straight at home and they are now unbeaten in their last six home matches at 4-0-2. Even more impressive, though, is their scoring rate at home, where they set a club record with 13 goals over the past four outings.
“It was great of course, like always. Especially today the weather was nice and it was a great atmosphere, so it was good and we knew we had to win and not disappoint our fans,” said goalkeeper Michael Gspurning. “We didn’t have the best game, but we won and got the three points.”
Oba brings wins
Martins became the fastest Sounder to six goals when he netted his second goal in second-half stoppage time on Wednesday, boosting Seattle to victory in his 10 appearances. Sounders FC is 6-3-1 in his 10 matches, but more impressive is their record when Martins scores or assists – six wins, no losses, no draws. His impact has been undeniable. His six goals, including a team-high three game-winners, and one winning assist have been just what the club was hoping for as his bit of brilliance against D.C. put the shine on an otherwise difficult game.
“Every game is important for me,” Martins said after the match. “Today’s game is good because we won. We didn’t play our best, but the important thing is to get the three points.”
All points count the same in the end
In a match that Sounders FC play-by-play man Ross Fletcher called a “banana skin match” (if you’re not careful, you’ll slip), Seattle responded. It wasn’t the prettiest of victories, but it was a victory nonetheless and that’s what teams need. D.C. may have the worst record in MLS, but they are also a team that eight months ago was playing in the Eastern Conference championships and have battled their way into the U.S. Open Cup semifinals. Taking them lightly can prove costly and while they only have two victories on the season, one came against Real Salt Lake and the other was against the Philadelphia Union. RSL leads the West right now and Philadelphia is third in the East, so both wins came against strong opposition. Getting three points was Seattle’s goal on Wednesday and, regardless of the style points on the field, they were able to accomplish that.
“You have to take a victory on certain days and say, ‘It’s not going to be beautiful. I’s not going to be necessarily artistic, so we just roll up the sleeves and still get it done’,” Schmid said. “You have to find different ways to win games throughout the season, and today I thought we accomplished that, so I was happy with that.”
The best is yet to come
With six wins in the past eight outings, Sounders FC has been good, but its best soccer is yet to come. What will happen when Osvaldo Alonso re-joins the lineup? How will more games together affect the Obafemi Martins-Eddie Johnson pairing? Sounders FC is inching closer to full strength, but has continued earn good results in the meantime. They sit sixth in the West at 7-5-3, but are fourth in the West and fifth in MLS at 1.6 points per match, and has games in hand on every team in MLS.
“The potential is frightening,” Evans said. “We still have to get those games under our belt and the best way that happens is multiple games in a short period of time.”