The Sounders signed forward Obafemi Martins, who turned 30 Tuesday, to a multi-year contract extension of undisclosed terms. A designated player, Martins scored a franchise-record 17 goals during regular season, fifth in Major League Soccer. He’s a leading candidate for the league’s Most Valuable Player Award.
“Oba has been an integral part of our team on and off the field, and has established himself as one of the premier players in MLS,” said Sounders GM Adrian Hanauer. “He was a monumental signing when he first joined us last season, and we are thrilled that he will continue his career with Sounders FC.”
Martins, who made about $1.725 million in 2014, according to the players union, produced five multi-goal games this season, second in the league, and added 13 assists, tying the club’s single-season record set by Mauro Rosales in 2011 and 2012.
The 2010 FIFA World Cup veteran also ranked among the league’s best with 0.55 goals per game (7th), 0.45 assists per 90 minutes (T-7th), 67 fouls suffered (7th), 36 shots on goal (T-10th) and a 46.8% shots on goal percentage (T-7th).
“I’m very excited that Oba is going to be staying on here in Seattle and that we were able to come to an agreement,” said Sounders coach Sigi Schmid. “He’s had a fantastic season and we expect more fantastic seasons as we move forward.”
Martins, who signed with Seattle March 15, 2013, is already second in club history with 25 goals in 51 MLS appearances. His 17 assists rank fourth all-time. The Sounders have never lost a match in which Martins scored (19-0-0).
“I’m very happy to have signed a contract to be with this team and these players for multiple years,” Martins said. “This season is not over yet, so I’m excited to do more and score more goals, but it’s nice to know I’ll be here going forward.”
In addition to being named to the Fan XI for the All-Star Game, Martins was voted Player of the Month for September after recording five goals and one assist in five appearances. He was also player of the week for week 24 for his two-goal, one-assist performance in a 4-2 road win over Portland.
The Nigerian has earned goal of the week honors five times this season, and has been named to the MLSsoccer.com Team of the Week seven times.
In 2013, Martins tied for the team-lead with eight goals, in addition to his four assists in 20 appearances. His total included five game-winners.
A native of Lagos, Nigeria, Martins spent 12 seasons in Europe’s top leagues before joining MLS, scoring 103 goals in 316 appearances for Inter Milan, Newcastle United, VfL Wolfsburg, Rubin Kazan and Levante. He also has 38 career caps and 18 goals for the Nigerian national team.
Sounders patsy Chivas folds
Chivas USA, long the sick man of MLS, ceased operations Monday. The void in the Western Conference in 2015 will be filled by two teams from the East, Sporting KC and Houston Dynamo, whose solid organizations are a greater travel distance than Los Angeles-based Chivas.
The Sounders claimed all 18 available points in six Chivas matches the past two seasons. The new alignment means all MLS Cup winners from 2009-13 are in the West, as well as all 10 finalists from those seasons.