The level of skill displayed on a goal in Saturday’s victory at Colorado immediately was evident to Martins’ peers, the players and coaches. They’re the ones that reached for the superlatives after practice Tuesday.
“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.
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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.
The level of skill, though, immediately was evident to Martins’ peers, the players and coaches. They’re the ones that reached for the superlatives after practice Tuesday morning at Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila.
Before Sounders-Timbers hysteria descends in earnest this week, hit that rewind button one last time.
• Seattle defender Tyrone Mears: “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.”
• Rose, who earned the assist on the play: “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: “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.”
• Lamar Neagle, who had submitted his own Goal of the Week nominee earlier: “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.’ ”
Matt Pentz’s MLS power rankings
|Last week’s rankings in parentheses|
|1. (1)||Vancouver||Winning at Rio Tinto mark of a legitimate contender.|
|2. (2)||New York Red Bulls||Top points-per-game average in MLS.|
|3. (5)||FC Dallas||Fabian Castillo rips Toronto to shreds.|
|4. (4)||Los Angeles||Snatched all three points from K.C. at the very end|
|5. (6)||Seattle||Survived a wild one in Commerce City.|
|6. (3)||D.C. United||United is stockpiling points despite forgettable start.|
|7. (10)||New England||Don’t look now, but Revs are tied for first in East.|
|8. (12)||Columbus||Made a statement in rout of Orlando.|
|9. (8)||Sporting Kansas City||Fought hard in Southern California despite late letdown.|
|10. (7)||Real Salt Lake||Needs to protect its home turf.|
|11. (9)||Orlando||Crew provided painful reality check.|
|12. (15)||Portland||Cascadia looms after key victory in NYC.|
|13. (13)||San Jose||Slowly sliding down the standings.|
|14. (11)||Toronto FC||Old habits dying hard for TFC.|
|15. (14)||New York City FC||Another week, another tough home loss.|
|16. (16)||Houston||A point from RFK trip is respectable.|
|17. (18)||Chicago||Somehow, Fire is in a playoff position.|
|18. (17)||Montreal||Date with continental destiny set for Wednesday night.|
|19. (19)||Colorado||Hey, at least the first half was impressive.|
|20. (20)||Philadelphia||Let one slip away against New England.|