By Don Ruiz The News Tribune
SEATTLE — Seattle Sounders forward Obafemi Mariners outscored D.C. United by two goals on Wednesday, and he’s closing in on catching them for the season.
Martins recorded his team-high fifth and sixth goals, sending the Sounders to a 2-0 win at CenturyLink Field.
“It was one of those games that you’ve just got to grind out,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “I don’t think it was necessarily our best soccer, per se. There were a couple of opportunistic goals. Certainly a good ball from Brad Evans to Obafemi for the first goal, and Obafemi with a lot of heart and determination for the second goal.”
D.C. United (2-13-3) has scored just eight goals in 18 games this season, and one goal over eight road games. On Wednesday, United took more shots than Seattle (9-8) and put more on target (4-3), but nothing got through.
“It’s tough to say, but I was pleased with most of the way we played — the way we built up our attack,” D.C. coach Ben Olsen said. “But again, the final stuff just isn’t there. The quality just isn’t there. It’s a very frustrating thing because we’re getting the right numbers there; we’re getting in the right situations to get good service. … It’s just not clicking.”
Seattle (7-5-3) got the only goal it would need in the 19th minute when Evans took the ball around midfield and slipped a pass forward to Martins, who received it a step behind D.C. right back James Riley, a former Sounder. Martins took the pass just atop United’s penalty area, and when he got inside it, he fired a low shot that beat goalkeeper Joe Willis to the near post.
“It was a good assist,” Martins said. “(Evans) took his time to pass the ball, and I have to position myself very well and I have to touch the ball. I have to play the ball inside the goalkeeper.”
That was Martins’ fifth goal of the season, moving him alone into the team lead, moving ahead of Eddie Johnson and Lamar Neagle.
“We knew the key to a win today was maybe to keep the zero in the back,” Seattle goalkeeper Michael Gspurning said. “Especially at the half we came together and said, ‘Hey, we don’t have our best game but at least keep the shutout and we have three points.’ It was good that it worked out.”
The game opened considerably in the second half, with both teams getting chances.
Martins’ clincher came in stoppage time from close range after midfielder Shalrie Joseph went high to win a ball on the attacking end.
Seattle is 6-0-0 when Martins records a goal or an assist, and he now has three game-winning goals.
“I talked to Oba: Next time it’s better if he scores the second one a little earlier – takes the pressure away from us,” Gspurning said. “But congrats to him on two good goals. We take the three points, and we have a game coming up shortly.”
The Sounders will spend their Independence Day morning in training, turning their attention quickly to their next match Saturday at Vancouver.
The Wednesday match was played before a crowd of 39,180, the third-largest home attendance of the season. However, thousands of fans missed the start of the match while standing in long lines as the club introduced a new metal-detection wanding policy at the stadium gates.
“I don’t know what went wrong, but for sure we’re going to figure out what went wrong,” general manager Adrian Hanauer said. “I think we probably need to start collecting some information first before we make huge statements about it. But if it was a problem – which it appears it was – we’re going to fix it. As one of the owners, we’re going to get it for sure dead-on right before we do it again if I have anything to do with it.”
The Sounders next home match is July 20 against Colorado.