Obafemi Martins could make his Seattle Sounders return as soon as this week when they play host to Sporting Kansas City. The forward missed Saturday's 2-0 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps with what was effectively a bruised shin (the team has dubbed it a tibial contusion) and X-rays showed nothing more serious, but is expected to join the team in full training soon.
"He was working on his own," Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid told reporters on Monday. "We're hoping to have him tomorrow. He made strides, he ran on his own and we'll see how he is for tomorrow."
If Martins if fully fit, there's no doubt as to his place on the team. His 38 combined goals and assists since the start of the 2014 season are more than any player in the league and the Sounders are clearly a better squad when he's on the field.
At the same time, the Sounders might not be as much in a rush to get him back as they probably would have been a week ago. Without Martins, the Sounders had their best performance of the year -- dominating the once Supporters Shield-leading Whitecaps -- while getting a pair of goals from Chad Barrett. No one in their right mind would possibly argue about Martins being in any danger of losing his spot, but there also doesn't seem to be much sense in forcing him back if he's not totally ready.