obafemi

Seattle Sounders Players: ‘Obafemi Martins Is Special’

Obafemi Martins’ teammates at Seattle Sounders have described the former Super Eagles’ star’s wonder goal in the 3-1 demolition of Colorado Rapids as incredible.

The players and the coach took turn after training on Tuesday morning at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila to speak on the goal and looked for superlatives to describe it.

“I decided to do something different,” Sounders forward Obafemi Martins said, in his typically understated way.

He was referencing the moment 72 minutes into Seattle’s 3-1 victory over the Colorado Rapids on Saturday night in Commerce City, Colo., when Andy Rose punted a long pass toward a lone striker flanked by a pair of burgundy-shirted defenders.

Martins tracked the arcing ball at a gallop, following it with his eyes. He turned his back to the goal and stuck out his left foot.

His first touch both took the momentum out of the ball and redirected it between the Colorado defenders. Martins continued the move on a spin, a merry-go-round that whirled him off alone on goal with only the goalkeeper to beat, which he did with a curling shot inside the left post.

The degree of difficulty involved on the play was tough to fully grasp in real time — even if it did inspire liberal use of the replay button — the flash of a white cleat and a light-green blur.

“His first touch, you don’t really expect a player to do that as a defender, to bring it back the way he did. I think the only thing the defenders really could have done is get tighter to him, maybe hold him a little bit. But the touch and Oba’s first four or five strides, he’s just too quick,” remarked Seattle defender Tyrone Mears.

Rose who provided the assist for the Nigerian also commented on the goal thus:“We’ve all been talking about it since. It’s probably the best touch I’ve ever seen.

“I’ve seen (Thierry) Henry do pretty special things, and (Dennis) Bergkamp. We’ve seen Oba do some fantastic bits of skill every day in training. But to do it like that from a 40-yard ball on a touch like that between two defenders was pretty breathtaking. You don’t see something like that very often. And when you do, it’s a special moment.”

Sounders coach Sigi Schmid is not left out: “Stuff like that, you just sit there and go, ‘Wow.’

You’re coming to a game, any ticket, that’s worth the price of admission. If that’s the only thing you see, if you’re in the beer line for the whole game and just got to your seat, that was worth the whole wait.

“Oba is a very instinctive player. If you asked him to recreate that, I don’t think he could recreate it. But he’s got such wonderful body control. He’s willing to try things. (Fellow forward Clint) Dempsey does the same thing. You’ve got to dare to be brilliant. They try that every once in a while. And when it comes off, it’s stupendous.”

And Lamar Neagle, who had submitted his own Goal of the Week nominee earlier also added his voice: “I was just watching like everybody else, man. Oba is one of a kind, and he proves it week after week. Us teammates know it the most, because we watch him in training every day. … You see it, and you’re amazed, but you go, ‘Oh, it’s Oba.’ ”

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