By Don Ruiz The News Tribune
TUKWILA — Seattle Sounders central defender Chad Marshall is a Major League Soccer All-Star again after a three-season absence.
Marshall doesn’t think he’s playing dramatically better than he did from 2011 to 2013 in Columbus, but instead sees the recognition as one of the perks that comes from playing with the league-leading Sounders.
“It’s been a while since I got to play in one,” Marshall said Tuesday after training. “It’s a credit to how we’re doing as a team. When you’re top of the table, you’re going to get guys in the All-Star Game. So I feel very privileged and happy to represent the Sounders there.”
Seattle’s league-best 12-4-2 record is matched by its club-record and league-high five All-Stars: forward Obafemi Martins, midfielders Clint Dempsey and Osvaldo Alonso, and defenders DeAndre Yedlin and Marshall.
“Whenever you achieve team success, individual recognition comes along with it,” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said. “… I think it’s a reflection of what we’ve done as a team. It’s great for the individuals. I think it’s deserving for all of them.”
Marshall played his first 10 professional seasons with the Columbus Crew. He was an All-Star in 2009 and 2010, and in 2008 and 2009 was named to the MLS Best XI and defender of the year. That run of honors accompanied a successful streak by the Crew: MLS Cup and Supporters Shield in 2008 and another Supporters Shield in 2009. But when Columbus’ trophy collection stopped, so did the honors for Marshall.
In December, he was acquired by Seattle for allocation money and a draft pick. And again his fortunes rose along with those of his team.
“Coming here has revitalized his game to a certain extent,” Schmid said. “But on the other hand, maybe it’s just because Columbus didn’t do as well the last couple of years that people sort of overlooked him a little. And now coming into our team and doing well, people are looking at him a little more and they see what an impact he makes onto the field. But I’ve always believed Chad’s a good player, an All-Star quality player, a player who’s maybe national-team caliber.”
Marshall seemed less certain that the move has revitalized his play. But he agrees with the rest of Schmid’s analysis.
“I don’t feel like I’m playing much different than I was there,” Marshall said. “But obviously I’m on a great team now. When you get to play with Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey and guys like that, you’re going to be at the top of the table and you’re going to get guys on the All-Star team.”
The five Sounders will be part of the MLS All-Star team that will face German power Bayern Munich at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 6 in Portland.
Additional spoils of victory were bestowed on U.S. national team players Dempsey and Yedlin, who have been named grand marshals of the Seafair Torchlight Parade, which will begin its march through downtown Seattle at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Seafair says its parade typically draws more than 150,000 spectators.
“I’m excited for that, too,” said Yedlin, a Seattle native. “I’ve been to (the Torchlight Parade), but I’ve never— obviously— been the grand marshal before. I’m excited to see what that experience is like and see all the people out there. … I went a lot when I was young with my grandma, my family. I don’t have too clear a favorite memory of it: just all the people out there, and it’s a cool event.”