SEATTLE (AP) – Snubbed from a World Cup camp invite by Nigeria, Obafemi Martins scored his finest goal since joining Major League Soccer in the eighth minute to give the Seattle Sounders a 1-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday night.
The Sounders opened the whole stadium for the first time this year and drew 49,746, the largest crowd for any MLS game this season.
Seattle (8-3-1) remained the points leader in all of MLS thanks to Martins' goal as both teams began a potential two-month stretch with some of the top players in the league off competing at the World Cup.
Martins' goal came from a shallow angle just four yards off the end line. Instead of settling Gonzalo Pineda's pass, Martins chipped the one-hopper with his left foot over San Jose goalkeeper Jon Busch and just inside the far post. It was the fifth goal of the season for Martins.
Instead of the usual backflip that has accompanied his previous goals, Martins simply shook his head possibly a little surprised his difficult attempt found the net.
Seattle was without three U.S. World Cup hopefuls while the Earthquakes were minus two. Clint Dempsey, Brad Evans and DeAndre Yedlin were gone for Seattle, while San Jose (2-4-4) played without Chris Wondolowski and Clarence Goodson. Also gone for the Earthquakes was Honduran hopeful Victor Bernardez.
The Sounders could have been without Martins as well, but he was not selected to join the Nigeria for its World Cup camp. Teaming with Dempsey at the top of Seattle's attack, Martins has a resume this season that would have been worthy of a call. Instead he's being asked to be the offensive catalyst for Seattle with Dempsey gone.
Seattle controlled the match and likely should have scored two or three more times if not for stellar goalkeeping by Busch. He stopped attempts from Lamar Neagle twice in a seven-minute span of the second half and turned away Osvaldo Alonso's attempt in the 84th minute.
All the shots being peppered toward Busch made for a quiet night at the other end for Seattle's Stefan Frei. With Wondolowski and Bernardez gone, the Earthquakes were missing seven of the 11 goals they have scored this season. The only player in San Jose's starting lineup with a goal was midfielder Cordell Cato.
San Jose's only official shot on goal came on a free kick in the 90th minute from Khari Stephenson that Frei smothered.
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