Obafemi Martins injured his adductor muscle and could miss between three and six weeks. Clint Dempsey, after ripping up a referee’s notebook during a U.S. Open Cup match against the Timbers last Tuesday, could face suspension.
The Sounders’ chaotic extra-time loss to Portland in the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup on Tuesday at Starfire Stadium has brought its first casualty.
Forward Obafemi Martins could miss between three and six weeks after injuring his groin late in the second half of Tuesday’s match, Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said Thursday.
The injury to his adductor muscle will not require surgery — “so that’s a positive situation,” Schmid said — but recoveries from groin problems are notoriously hard to predict.
Martins, 30, set Sounder FC’s season record for goals last season with 17 and finished as a runner-up to L.A. Galaxy forward Robbie Keane for MLS Most Valuable Player. Martins has played in 11 of Seattle’s 15 games this year, starting 10 of them while notching seven goals and four assists.
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The Martins news was the first bit of fallout from the match that ended with seven Sounders on the field, boos paired with a handful of plastic bottles raining down and embattled referee Daniel Radford leaving the field via police escort. It’s unlikely to be the last repercussion.
A verdict in the case of Clint Dempsey vs. U.S. Soccer is expected Friday.
Dempsey snatched Radford’s notebook out of his pocket late in extra time before ripping it in two — and could face a national team and MLS suspension as a result of his contact with the referee.
An internal review is coming too, owner Adrian Hanauer said, from the top down.
“It wasn’t our proudest moment as the Sounders organization, and we’re going to do better,” Hanauer said.
“The Open Cup is a tournament we take very serious. No one can argue that the Sounders have possibly put the Open Cup back on the map for U.S. Soccer. So the passion comes out.
“We wanted to win that game Tuesday night. We wanted (S2) to win in Salt Lake City. I think that the passion may have been misappropriated — from players, coaches, fans and staff.”
S2 didn’t escape blame, either.
Coach Ezra Hendrickson went full Lou Piniella at the final whistle, stomping his feet and waving his arms protesting, in part, a controversial intentional back-pass call that led to Real Salt Lake’s game-winning goal.
Hendrickson then sent out a later-deleted tweet with this message and an accompanying picture: “RSL vs S2 #unbelievable… And it wasn’t even American Football.”
Schmid was less bombastic, though he said after the game that his calm stroll away from the bench toward the corner flag was only because he “was maybe going to choke a referee.”
Thirty-six hours later, the tone had shifted.
“I’m not happy with my behavior,”Schmid said Thursday morning, “walking away toward the end of the game. No matter what goes on on the field, I have to be better about that. I appreciated our fans’ support, but as fans, we’ve got to support our team. We can’t go overboard and throw things on the field. We have to be accountable for our own behavior.
“The things that we can control, we need to control. Things that we can’t control, we just can’t control.”
Schmid gathered his team Thursday morning and made it clear that what’s past is past. The rest — the uncertain length of Martins’ recovery time, the possibility that it could be without each of its starting forwards for Saturday’s match against San Jose and beyond — is out of their hands.
“The message to our team was very simple: We need to stay together as a group,” Schmid said.