TUKWILA, Wash. – As the Seattle Sounders trained at Starfire Soccer Complex on Thursday ahead of Saturday’s road matchup against the Vancouver Whitecaps (7 pm ET, TSN1 in Canada, MLS Live in US), there was at least one notable absence from the practice field.
Speaking with reporters after training, Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid confirmed that star forward Obafemi Martins missed Thursday’s practice to get an X-ray.
Schmid declined to divulge what it was that Martins was getting examined, saying that he was doing an impression of LA Galaxy coach Bruce Arena and his propensity for withholding injury information.
“Oba wasn’t here,” Schmid said. “He was upstairs and we had to send him for an X-ray. He’s got a little bit of a complaint but we want to make sure with the X-ray and we’ll make a determination tomorrow.”
Martins led Seattle with 17 goals and 13 assists last season and has already bagged six goals and two assists in eight games this year. He has combined with fellow forward Clint Dempsey to net 13 of Seattle’s 15 goals on the season.
Veteran Chad Barrett, who filled in at forward at various points last season when Dempsey missed time with US national team duty, could see time if Martins does end up being limited for any portion of Saturday’s contest. Lamar Neagle could also move to forward from his customary spot as a midfielder, something he did for Seattle’s April 12 match against the Galaxy when Dempsey was out with a hamstring injury.
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Losing Martins for any sustained period would certainly be a blow for Seattle as they prepare to visit Vancouver, who have bested the Sounders for the Cascadia Cup trophy in each of the last two seasons.
“Our motivation is looking at the standings and they’re ahead of us,” Schmid said. ”Last year is last year. It’s done, it’s over. We can’t get that back. We can’t get the Cascadia Cup back from last year. It’s all about this year and they’re ahead of us this year.”
Seattle train one more time on Friday at Starfire before heading to Vancouver, at which time Schmid said he hopes to have more information regarding Martins’ status for Saturday.