SEATTLE — On a night that seemed to have "trap game" written all over it, Obafemi Martins made sure the Seattle Sounders came out unscathed.
The Nigerian international scored a pair of goals to lead the Sounders to a 2-0 win over last-place D.C. United on Wednesday at CenturyLink Field.
The Sounders were starting their 15th lineup in as many league matches, including a pairing of Martins and Eddie Johnson up top that had not worked out too well in past attempts. On the three previous occasions they had started together, the Sounders had lost by a collective score of 8-1 and the two forward had combined for just three shots.
The duo wasted little time changing that narrative, despite the obvious rust the Sounders collectively carried after having only played three games in the month of June.
Johnson controlled a ball just behind the midfield stripe, quickly passed it off to Brad Evans, who then hit Martins with a perfectly weighted through ball. Martins was able to get behind the defense and managed to squeeze a shot inside the near post despite United keeper Joe Willis cutting off the angle, to give the Sounders a 1-0 advantage in the 19th minute.
It was Martins' fifth goal of the season, but the first he had scored in a game in which he and Johnson both started. He added his sixth goal of the season in the 91st minute, fighting off a pair of United defenders and beat Willis to the near post again.
The duo nearly combined on another goal in the 62nd minute when Johnson and Martins worked a give-and-go near the top of the penalty area that resulted in Johnson getting a chance from about 12 yards out. But Willis came off his line to close down the angle and make the save on Johnson's volley attempt.
United had come into the match having scored just one goal in their seven road games. Although they actually managed to outshoot the Sounders 9-8, their best chances were all long-range attempts.
After allowing the first goal, D.C. managed to catch a bit more of the game in the later part of the first half. Their best chance was probably Kyle Porter's attempt from about 22 yards out, but Michael Gspurning was able to dive to his right and save it with relative ease.
Chris Pontius had a couple of decent chances to equalize in the second half, but both chances came from more than 20 yards out and each time Gspurning was up to the task in making the saves.
Seattle moved into a tie for fifth place in the Western Conference with the LA Galaxy on 24 points, but with two matches in hand. The Sounders next head north to Vancouver to face their Cascadia rivals on Saturday.
D.C. United, meanwhile, slumped to their 13th loss of the season and have three fewer points than other team in the league and have played more games than the two teams closest to them in the standings. They now travel to Colorado to face the Rapids on Sunday.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Obafemi Martins||He also showed signs of rust, like the rest of his teammates, but Martins' class shined through on goals in each half|
|2||Chris Pontius||After a lackluster first half, Pontius decided to try to take the game by the scruff of the neck, but couldn't get enough support from D.C.|
|3||Michael Gspurning||Didn't need to make many saves, but stopped the threats he faced and in particular stopped a big Pontius blast in the 2nd half|