All-Star: Obafemi Martins credits ease of playing with Clint Dempsey as Seattle sends five players

TUKWILA, Wash. – The Seattle Sounders lead the Western Conference, the Supporters' Shield race, and now the All-Star count.

On Saturday, Osvaldo Alonso and Chad Marshall joined Fan XI honorees Clint Dempsey, Obafemi Martins and DeAndre Yedlin on the 23-player All-Star Roster that will face Bayern Munich on August 6 at Providence Park in Portland (9:30 pm ET | ESPN2, UniMas in the US; TSN/RDS in Canada).

The Sounders' total of five All-Stars is two more than the next most-represented teams; the New York Red Bulls, LA Galaxy and Sporting Kansas City are all sending three players.

“It always feels great when they call you and tell you’re an All-Star,” said Alonso, who is making his fourth consecutive All-Star appearance. “It’s always great to be there with your teammates – Clint, Oba, DeAndre, and Chad. It’s exciting for me. I’m very happy for all of us.”

Dempsey and Yedlin are joined on the All-Star roster by six fellow US national teammates, meaning eight of the 11 Fan XI honorees are members of the US World Cup squad.

Dempsey has looked like an MVP candidate during his time on the field for Seattle this season, scoring nine goals and notching three assists despite missing time in recent weeks while playing for the US national team in the 2014 World Cup. Martins has scored eight goals of his own and has also been effective as a facilitator, tying for the team lead with six assists.

The rapport and chemistry established by the Dempsey-Martins duo has turned them into one the league’s most feared forward combinations, paving the way for a Sounders offensive attack that leads MLS with 35 goals scored and a +11 goal differential.

“I don’t really know how to explain it,” Martins said when asked about the connection with his fellow All-Star. “It’s just fun playing with him. … It’s easy playing alongside him. I’m happy he’s here on the team.”

It’s the second All-Star selection in as many seasons for the 21-year-old Yedlin, who is now one of the league’s most recognizable young players thanks to his performance in the 2014 World Cup. Alonso and Marshall, meanwhile, each have established reputations as two of the most consistent defensive players in the league.

Alonso said the opportunity to play Bayern Munich adds to his excitement for the All-Star recognition.

“One of the top teams in the world,” Alonso said. “They have a few players that won the World Cup. It’s going to be a tough game, a good game, and we just have to go down there and play our game.”

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