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The Rate of Return: Oba's on Fire

Although he's missed a huge portion of the summer, Martins has reached 10 goals faster than any Sounder in the MLS era

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Much of the focus on Obafemi Martins this season has been about his prolonged absence, followed by his form upon returning. Less conspicuous has been his scoring rate, which is remarkable.

In terms of goals per match, Martins is accumulating goals at an astonishing rate, the likes of which haven't been seen in Seattle in 13 years. He reached 10 goals in just 14 games-faster than any previous player for Sounders FC (Clint Dempsey did it in 16 MLS appearances last season).

The last Seattle player to hit the 10-goal mark faster was Mark Baena, who scored 10 in his first 12 A-League matches in 1999. Like Martins, Brian Ching needed 14 games in 2002.

At the top flight, David Butler (1974) and Roger Davies (1980) each totaled 10 after their 12th NASL outing. If Martins had converted that penalty versus Orlando, he would've matched that standard.

Furthermore, the Nigerian DP is the epitome of efficiency when compared to his contemporaries. Among league leaders, Martins' rate of 0.77 goals per 90 minutes is second only to Robbie Keane's blistering 0.89. Of the 10-goal scorers in MLS thus far, only Jozy Altidore (28) has fewer shots than Martins' 29, and three of Altidore's were scored from the penalty spot.

Now, if the Sounders attack can begin generating more chances for Martins, Dempsey & Co., perhaps the broader narrative can evolve from making the playoffs to once again lifting a cup.

Frank MacDonald is a Seattle soccer journalist and historian. This story first appeared on his website and has been republished here with his permission.

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