By Don Ruiz The News Tribune
Central defender Chad Marshall scored goals in eight of his first 10 Major League Soccer seasons, so it seemed only a matter of time before he got on the board in his debut season with the Seattle Sounders.
That happened Saturday as Marshall’s first goal as a Sounder lifted Seattle to a 2-1 come-from-behind win against the Philadelphia Union.
“It’s great for him to get accolades — man of the match and the game-winning goal — especially at CenturyLink,” said Brad Evans, a teammate of Marshall’s at Columbus and now again in Seattle. “I think that’s a big thing and something he’ll never forget.”
Marshall admitted as much. He played 90 minutes of solid defense, as the Union’s only score came on Evans’ own goal. However, Marshall agreed it was his offensive contribution that would linger in his mind.
“I’ve been close a couple times this year, so it was nice to get one, especially at home and for it to be a game-winner,” he said. “It was pretty sweet.”
At 6-foot-4, Marshall always has been dangerous on set pieces. And that’s how he got on the scoreboard Saturday, getting his head onto a corner kick launched by Marco Papa in the 84th minute.
It was Marshall’s 19th MLS goal. His high-water mark came in 2008 when he scored four goals in the regular season, two in the playoffs and won his first of back-to-back MLS defender of the year awards.
“Nobody wants to play against him, because you don’t have any joy,” Evans said. “That’s been for the past 10 years. … He’s just a menace. When he says ‘Chad’s ball,’ you just clear out of the way, and he wins it.”
Marshall played his first 10 MLS seasons with the Crew. Three of those were under coach Sigi Schmid, who left for Seattle after Columbus’ MLS Cup championship season of 2008.
Schmid believed Marshall could still help on both ends of the pitch, and the Sounders acquired him in December for allocation money and a draft pick.
“He’s a good defender — that’s the reason he’s here,” Schmid said. “We felt that he could help us get further as a team and do better. I think he is a quality player and one of the best center backs in the league. He’s got two assists … the assist he had (April 26 in a 4-1 win against Colorado) and the goal he had this week off set pieces are obviously geared toward him and were very effective.”
Marshall, 29, was drafted by the Crew out of Stanford in 2004. He played in 28 games in his first season and was a finalist for MLS rookie of the year.
He also has 11 career appearances with United States national team. And while he hasn’t been called to coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s camps for the FIFA World Cup in Brazil next month, Schmid says that is no reflection on Marshall’s abilities.
“It’s really Jurgen’s decision,” Schmid said. “It’s a little about does he want to alter the group at this stage. … I think that probably hurts Chad as much as anything. But from a standpoint of quality, I think he certainly has a right to be in the discussion.”
The Sounders ended the week alone atop the MLS standings with 19 points. They also lead the league with 20 goals. Individually, Clint Dempsey continues to lead MLS with eight goals, 34 shots and 15 shots on goal. Obafemi Martins is in a three-way tie for the league lead with four assists. … After a day off Sunday, the Sounders return to training today for the first of two days of preparation for their 7 p.m. Wednesday home match against FC Dallas.