The victory was already in hand, with Sounders FC cruising to a massive win over Orlando City SC on a glorious day at CenturyLink Field. Yet second-half stoppage time provided a significant moment for a young Sounder that could be counted on to contribute down the stretch.
With less than a minute remaining, first-year midfielder Thomás received a lofted pass from Román Torres about 25 yards away from the goal. The Brazilian took a few dribbles into the box, split two defenders and fired a shot inside the left post that Orlando goalkeeper Tally Hall didn’t even attempt to save. It was the first MLS goal for Thomás, who signed with the Sounders in early June.
It wasn’t hard to see the relief on his face as the 22-year-old performed a dance for the 40,453 fans at CenturyLink Field. His goal was the perfect ending to a 4-0 victory for Seattle. Not to mention, it happened to come against one of his idols, Brazilian legend Kaká.
“I’m very happy for this first goal,” Thomás said after the game through a translator. “I’ve been chasing it, and the ball was just not going in. But today I was feeling very confident. I hope this is the first of many.”
Thomás came on as a substitute early in the second half, replacing striker Nelson Valdez, who had marked his Sounders FC debut with a goal just minutes earlier. The Brazilian played on the left wing and made an immediate impact, assisting Obafemi Martins’ second goal by chasing after a loose ball and deflecting it right to the veteran striker at the edge of the box. Martins did the rest of the work, chipping Hall before poking the ball into an empty net.
Martins quickly developed chemistry with Thomás this summer because of their ability to communicate with each other in Italian. But Sunday’s win was just the second game in which they were on the field together, as Martins missed two months of action with an adductor injury.
“Oba is a great player. He has proven himself and what he is capable of many times,” Thomás said. “His return definitely helps give confidence to the team. Our players who debuted today, including Román, did very well. It was a great game, and training this week will help us improve more and more.”
Sunday was the 10th appearance of the season for Thomás, who has played in all but two MLS games since arriving in June. He’s made seven starts in the midfield for Sigi Schmid’s squad.
Even if it means coming off the bench as he did against Orlando, Thomás figures to play an important role in Seattle’s push to win the MLS Cup and advance out of its group in the CONCACAF Champions League. The Rave Green still have four games to play in the final two weeks of August.
His next chance to shine is Wednesday night, when the Sounders host Honduran side CD Olimpia in their second game of the CCL Group Stage.