Let's just get this right out of the way up front. I don't like talking about lockerroom issues. They are nearly impossible to judge. The specifics are rare; the insight gained is minimal; the facts are barren. It took months for the rumors and innuendo to get real names behind the issues inside the 2013 Seattle Sounders FC clubhouse. Brad Evans would later point out that all of those things may ... or may not ... matter when the team loses a couple games.
Today was a bit different. Obafemi Martins was asked about team chemistry. It's clearly displayed on the field so far. This classic No. 9 has been a distributor so far this season. It's odd, but it's working. That's on the field. Chemistry between Clint Dempsey and Oba is pretty clearly there.
There's a history in sports of really crappy locker rooms winning trophies. The same goes for clubhouses that love and adore each other. These things don't matter ... unless they do.
Sometimes players are quiet and laid back. They are amazing on the field, but not vocal leaders (Alonso is a local example of this). Others may be slightly less talented, but quite vocal (Brad Evans for example). They tell other players where to go and what to do. We see it. Those two are part of the core identified by Hanauer and Sigi at the end of 2013.
But what is Clint Dempsey? He's the Captain these days. Clint talks to the referee and we see it. He has secret handshakes with EJ and Alonso.
Today Oba told us how that works in the locker room. This is significant for two reasons - Oba is usually short with the media and Oba, like Clint, played on Europa League quality teams in the past.
"I think that since Dempsey came back [the locker room] it's happy. It's back in order," Martins told the media. "He's trying to help his teammates as well. He's the one talking for me. I don't need to talk. He's helping me out by saying good things like how they need to pass the ball to Oba and all that so I'm enjoying it. It's more easy because he's helping the team and I'm trying to do the same. We're like family, you know. I hope that we'll take that to the game. We're enjoying it."
That kind of stuff doesn't really matter ... unless it does. Early looks at the leaderboard for MLS say that it does. It's not just Oba and Clint being highly talented players. It's about them getting along.
"I think it's easy for me," Oba said when asked about playing alongside Dempsey, "because when I get the ball I know where to run to and where to get the ball to me. It makes my job more easy and I'm doing the same for him. When he gets the ball, he knows where to find me so we play one or two touches, making it easy. That's what we're doing. I look forward to keep doing that because the team, they're looking forward for Clint and Obafemi to do well up front and score goals. I hope that it continues like that and we help the team."
This team is developing. One could even say that they are drift compatible.