The Seattle Sounders rallied in the second-half to earn a valuable point away at fellow MLS Supporters’ Shield contenders LA Galaxy on Sunday night, with Obafemi Martins at the heart of everything the Sounders did going forward once again.
A Seattle win would have wrapped up the Supporters Shield a week before the end of the season, but the draw means that their is all to play for when the sides meet again in the final game of the regular season at CenturyLink Field.
Goals from Baggio Husidic and Marcelo Sarvas either side of halftime put LA 2-0 up, and all looked to be going accordingly in Landon Donovan’s final regular season home game.
But Seattle weren’t to be defeated that easily, and Martins inspired them to come back and earn a draw as he picked up two assists for Clint Dempsey and Lamar Neagle goals in quick succession.
Omar Gonzalez was sent off late on, and he will miss the decider on Saturday night as a result, but Martins is the man who deserves to be talked about, as the 29-year-old did his MVP claims no harm by setting up both Sounders goals.
Martins had more shots than anyone on the pitch last night with five, and also completed more dribbles than anyone else on the field.
He made three key passes, and proved to be the main attacking threat once more – a significant claim when playing alongside Clint Dempsey.
Martins is undoubtedly in the running for the MVP award, and another outstanding display in the final game could be a huge factor, as Robbie Keane appears the favourite for MVP at the moment.
The Nigerian striker has scored 17 goals this season, joint-fourth most in the league, tied with Lee Nguyen (another MVP candidate), and has the joint-second highest amount of assists with 11, as only Landon Donovan has more (14).
Martins looks set to stay in Seattle for another couple of seasons as he is reportedly closing in on a contract extension, but that won’t be until after the season.
He will be crucial for the Sounders on Saturday night, and in the playoffs as well as Seattle are set to fight for their first MLS Cup win.
How important is Martins to Seattle? Does he deserve the MVP award?