Dripping with rain and sweat, Sounders FC’s Chad Marshall grabbed the microphone after an on-field interview for one last message to the thousands of similarly drenched fans who shared in the joy of another thrilling comeback win.
“I love being here!” his voice echoed throughout the stadium.
In the locker room a few minutes later, Marshall expanded on the improvised shout-out of appreciation: “I’ve admired what’s been going on here for a long time. I’m happy that (coach Sigi Schmid) brought me here so I can contribute to this team.”
Seattle is happy to have him, and not just because he scored the dramatic winner Saturday, a well-won header on an 84th-minute corner kick to stun the visiting Philadelphia Union, 2-1.
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The goal punctuated what had already been a dominant performance defensively; Marshall blocked six shots — “I think I have a nice Adidas tattoo on my back right now from one of them,” he joked — while the rest of the players from both teams combined for four.
“If Chad Marshall hadn’t scored the goal and somebody else had, I still think Chad should have been player of the match,” said Schmid, who has often referred to the 6-foot-4 center back as one of the best defenders in the league.
“That’s the reason he’s here, because we felt that he could help us, help us get further as a team.”
Marshall had some of his best seasons under Schmid, winning MLS Defender of the Year and winning the MLS Cup with the Columbus Crew in a standout 2008. Reunited six seasons later, Marshall is again performing at an All-Star level for the first-place Sounders, having hardly put a foot wrong defensively while also contributing in the attack.
Outside of Saturday’s goal, Marshall had assists the previous two weeks, mainly due to his commanding presence on free kicks and corner kicks.
Seattle defender Jalil Anibaba, who has faced off with Marshall in practice, called his teammate “a nightmare to deal with in the air — definitely the type of guy you like to have on your team.”
So has Marshall been good enough for consideration for another team, the U.S. national team ahead of this summer’s World Cup in Brazil? The federation’s final training camp is coming up in a couple of weeks, so it might be too late to make a push.
“I think Marshall is a good enough center back in comparison to the center backs with the national team that he deserves consideration,” Schmid said last week. “Unfortunately the train is pretty far away from the station at this point. … I think that probably hurts Chad as much as anything, but from a standout of quality, I think he certainly has a right to be in the discussion.”
Evans’ wild return
“Eventful” doesn’t quite cover the return of Brad Evans to the starting lineup Saturday. The Sounders’ captain not only committed an own goal, the team’s first since 2011, but he also played three positions over 90 minutes.
Evans started as a wide midfielder on the right, moved to left back in the 50th minute when Dylan Remick suffered an apparent ankle injury, only to move to center midfield to secure the win in the final five minutes.
“Brad’s thing is versatility,” Schmid said. “That’s part of what we need him to do.”
• The Sounders have scored multiple goals in five straight games for the first time in franchise history.