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Top 10 Sounders player performances of 2014

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Here's a look at the best of the best individual performances in the Seattle Sounders record 2014 season as chosen by Sounder at Heart readers.

Obafemi Martins does a backflip after one of his two goals in Portland in August, a performance Sounder at Heart readers judged to be the best of 2014.
Obafemi Martins does a backflip after one of his two goals in Portland in August, a performance Sounder at Heart readers judged to be the best of 2014.
Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

Top 10 Sounders player performances of 2014

The Seattle Sounders had an amazing year in 2014, winning the Supporter's Shield as MLS' best team over the course of the season and the U.S. Open Cup.

All those wins were made by a squad of players that laid down some top-notch performances. A now a look at the best of the best: Here are the top 10 performances by Sounders players in a game in 2014, as chosen by the hundreds of people who rated players in our player rating threads.

10. (tie) Kenny Cooper
U.S. Open Cup Semifinal, Aug. 13
Community rating: 8.28
In perhaps the best team performance of the year, the Sounders dismantled and destroyed Chicago Fire 6-0 in the semifinal of the U.S. Open Cup and Kenny Cooper led the way with two well-taken goals and an assist on an Obafemi Martins goal. Kenny was what the soccer world calls "clinical" this game, like a shark with blood in the water he battered the Fire who wilted and quit in the face of the onslaught. The Open Cup really was Kenny's tournament.

10. (tie) Chad Marshall
MLS regular season, Oct. 19
Community rating: 8.28
Chad had 12 clearances, 6 balls intercepted and an 83 percent passing completion percentage in a defensive performance that helped the Sounders earn a 2-2 in Los Angeles and return to Seattle with their hopes of a Supporters Shield firmly in their own hands. This was the start of a run of truly spectacular games from Chad that lasted into the MLS Cup tournament.

9. Chad Marshall
MLS Cup playoffs, Nov. 2
Community rating: 8.38
Chad tallied 14 clearances, five interceptions, two tackles and a 70 percent pass completion rate, including connecting on three of four of his long passes, in a dominating performance in a 1-1 tie in Dallas. Chad had many highlights in the game, covering for outside defenders, running to cut off legitimate chance at goal and sliding to kick a ball out to touch and allow his teammates to reset for a set piece.

8. Chad Marshall
MLS Cup playoffs, Nov. 10
Community rating: 8.40
Chad so dominated over the two-game MLS Cup playoff tie with FC Dallas that near the end of the second half of this game - a 0-0 tie in Seattle - when Dallas desperately needed an away goal, they took off Blas Perez, the team's best striker who had been rendered useless by Chad's suffocating defense. Chad had 12 clearances and even managed a shot on goal with a decent header off a corner kick. I'd argue that the Sounders have never had a better individual defensive performance over the course of two games.

7. Obafemi Martins
MLS regular season, Oct. 5
Community rating: 8.59
A two-goal performance in an easy 4-1 win over Colorado Rapids in Colorado. Perhaps what was most impressive in this game was Oba's work rate. It wasn't his best performance of the year in terms of passing, but he scrambled and helped on defense and put incredible pressure on the Colorado back line, which simply could not handle his skill and speed.

6. Clint Dempsey
MLS regular season, April 12
Community rating: 8.61
I was lucky enough to witness in person Clint's amazing turn against FC Dallas in Frisco, Texas, as the Sounders won 3-2. He seemed to really enjoy himself performing in front of a large group of Texans wearing Sounders green Dempsey kits and T-shirts. Statistically he was simply amazing, scoring twice from three shots on target, completing 77 percent of his passes, including three key passes that opened up legitimate scoring chances and even registering a tackle. The folks over at whoscored.com gave him a 9.2 for this performance, and many of you gave him a 10 on your ballots.

5. Clint Dempsey
MLS regular season, April 5
Community rating: 8.71
Five shots on goal, three goals, including a penalty, and perhaps the best half of soccer Sounders FC supporters have ever seen helped the side to an epic 4-4 tie in Portland against the Timbers. Though this isn't the highest-rated performance of the year, it is perhaps the one that will go down in history. Not only did Clint score three goals, but he completed 88 percent of his passes for the game. He was the best player on the field by a wide margin in the second half, after the team substituted and switched formations to move him inside with Martins. Personally this was the closest I came to giving a 10 this year, and perhaps I would have had the production in the first half matched the magical second half, a half that I believe will make Clint a Sounders legend.

4. Marco Pappa
MLS regular season, Oct. 25
Community rating: 8.82 (substitute appearance)
The only substitute appearance to make it into the top 10, Marco won the game, and the Supporters Shield, in a 2-0 victory over L.A. Galaxy in the last game of the year. When Marco checked in in the 72nd minute, the Sounders had no shots on goal. None. When the game was over the Sounders had two goals on four shots, all taken by Marco. Marco had 15 touches the entire game and scored twice. He ignited an offensive run that seemed to be nowhere in the making before his introduction. And his second goal was historic for its show of effort and desire, as he charged down LA's goalkeeper, twice tackled the ball away and then pushed forward for an epic goal that sent the club and its supporters into delirium. Those 20 minutes of soccer is not one many of us will soon forget.

3. Clint Dempsey
MLS regular season, April 26
Community rating: 8.84
Clint scored twice in an easy, breezy 4-1 over Colorado Rapids in Seattle that saw him close out a magnificent April with his highest-rated performance of the year. It wasn't just that Clint scored in this game; it was his pure supremacy on the pitch. He had five shots on goal, seven shots total. He had an amazing 71 touches in the game as he single-handedly controlled the pace and flow. He completed 91 percent of his 52 pass attempts. Those are stunning statistics given we know that Clint is always willing to try the tricky pass or the difficult run through traffic. He had only six turnovers compared to the 24 by Lamar Neagle and 22 by Obafemi Martins in the game. This was a performance at an elite level that we hardly ever see in MLS, one man dominating a game and making it easy for his teammates to be victorious.

2. Chad Marshall
MLS regular season, May 3
Community rating: 8.96
I think Chad taught us all something new in 2014: just because you are heading the ball under pressure near the goal doesn't mean you have to just clear it to "anywhere." Chad is the best passer on clearing headers I have ever seen in MLS. His passes, either in the air, or under pressure sweeping the backline, usually go to a teammate and often lead the Sounders to counter attacks. In this 2-1 win over Philadelphia Union he played amazingly stout defense, with six blocked shots, but as impressively he completed 86 percent of his passes, including many clearances that people wouldn't generally think of as passing attempts. And to top it off he scored a goal on a header. Chad went on to win MLS Defender of the Year, and perhaps we all got a little spoiled watching him lock down strikers, cover for mistakes by his teammates and sweep the back so clean that the keeper was often bored behind him. This game was the wakeup call, the realization that we were seeing true greatness in defense the likes we had not seen in the MLS era in Seattle previously. More than 180 Sounder at Heart readers gave Chad a perfect 10 for this performance.

1. Obafemi Martins
MLS regular season, Aug. 24
Community rating: 9.08
Oba had two goals and an assist, and played a part in the Sounders' fourth goal as the team beat rival Portland Timbers 4-2 in Portland. It was a spectacular performance, with magnificent hold up play, and a slicing attack that ripped apart the Timbers defense and left them floundering. Oba scored a bunch of spectacular goals this year, but perhaps none was better than the close-control goal he scored in this game where he weaved through five Timbers defenders on a give-and-go with Gonzalo Pineda. That goal showed a skill level rarely seen in MLS, when seemingly the ball was stuck under his feet and he had the presence to lift it to himself as he passed between three defenders. But this performance wasn't just the spectacular, it was also that he did a lot of little things right, completing 75 percent of his passes, for example, including one to a streaking Dempsey that led to Dempsey's goal. All of his long balls and through balls found their target. About 125 readers gave Oba a perfect 10 for this performance, one that the community as a whole rated as the best performance of 2014.

Honorable mentions (other community player ratings over 8 in 2014):
8.25 Pappa, May 31
8.22 Martins, July 13 (substitute)
8.20 Martins, May 17
8.17 Stefan Frei, MLS Cup playoffs, Nov. 4
8.16 Martins, Sept 27
8.12 Marshall, MLS Cup playoffs, Nov. 23
8.12 Martins, April 26
8.12 Martins, Oct. 19
8.09 Martins, May 7

The bottom 10: The worst individual community player ratings in 2014
2.73 Pappa, March 15
2.94 DeAndre Yedlin, May 11
2.96 Djimi Traore, Sept. 24 (substitute)
3.12 Jalil Anibaba, Sept. 20
3.25 Anibaba, July 28
3.33 Dylan Remick, Sept. 20
3.42 Anibaba, April 5
3.52 Traore, Sept. 20
3.44 Frei, May 11
3.55 Remick, July 28