–Rejected Eagle says ‘my 15 goals not enough
Rejected and labelled surplus to requirements by Stephen Keshi,the Super Eagles interim coach, Obafemi Martins’ true worth has continued to be recognised elsewhere.
Martins wins Etihad Airways Player of the Month for September.
The Nigerian’s red-hot run of five goals and one assist in five games has powered the Seattle Sounders star to the Etihad Airways Player of the Month award for September.
In the fan vote, Oba’s 58.43 percent comfortably outpolled LA Galaxy icon Landon Donovan, August’s winner, who finished at 13.56 percent, followed by Portland Timbers playmaker Diego Valeri, Columbus Crew goalkeeper Steve Clark and New England Revolution standout Lee Nguyen.
Martins’ honour marks the second time a Sounder has taken home this award in 2014, with his strike partner Clint Dempsey having claimed the April edition. Seattle presently sit atop both the MLS Western Conference and Supporters’ Shield standings, level with Donovan’s Galaxy.
Martins looks to make it a double win this week as he also leads in the goal of the week race.
His heat-seeking strike from long range against Chivas USA paced Seattle to a 4-2 win on Saturday, and with more than 63 percent of the vote as of Thursday morning (voting closed last night), it’s garnered nearly two-thirds of all ballots cast in this week’s AT&T Goal of the Week race.
Meanwhile Martins says he is looking to add to his goal total and lift Seattle to more victories along the way.
Martins has proved to be the difference between success and failure for Seattle Sounders.When he scores,Sounders FC wins games.
It’s an inarguable fact that has proven true time and time again in his two seasons in Seattle. While posting 23 goals and 14 assists in 47 MLS matches, Sounders FC has gone 18-0-0 in games when Martins has scored a goal.
“I remember when I came, I wanted to help the team score goals. I think that’s what I’m doing now,” he said at training on Tuesday. “The 15 goals is not enough. We need to be on top and we need to score more goals.”
All season long, Martins has been a scoring threat. Whether paired with Clint Dempsey or any other forward on Seattle’s roster, he has found a way to help his teammates get open shots while also taking over possessions at a moment’s notice.
Lately, that has meant scoring goals in bunches for Sounders FC.
In the 2004-2005 season with Inter, he scored three braces and had just two during the 2006-2007 season with Newcastle.
Over the past seven games with Sounders FC, he has recorded three doubles, including Saturday when he brought his season total to a club-record 15 goals. The mark also bettered his personal-best for a season in a career that has seen him net dozens of goals and turn his signature backflip in stadiums around the world.
That recent surge has impressed even his Seattle teammates, who have seen his progression first-hand.
“Early in the year, he was one of the best scorers in the league and he just steps it up with more and more energy. It’s nice to have a guy like that,” said midfielder Lamar Neagle, who has matched his career high with eight goals and doubled his previous career-best with eight assists.
“I think every championship team has at least one guy and we have a couple. We have a ton of guys backing them up.”
Entering the 2014 season, Martins had never scored more than 11 goals in a season. He reached that mark in the 2004-2005 season with Inter Milan in Italy and again in the 2006-2007 campaign with Newcastle United in England. Now with 15 goals in 2014, the Sounders FC forward is broaching new ground on his journey to help Seattle add the Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup to its trophy case to go with the U.S. Open Cup hoisted last month.
With Dempsey, Neagle and Marco Pappa aiding in the attack, Martins is looking to extend his club scoring record over the final four matches of the season.
“We’ve been playing a lot of games and I’ve been trying to score goals and trying to win games. We still have four games left so we’ll keep going,” Martins said. “Fifteen goals is the record and I’m happy, but at the same time, we have a lot of games to play and I’m ready to score more goals.”
Sounders FC will meet the Colorado Rapids on Sunday at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park – the site of Martins’ first goal for Seattle last season.