Obafemi Martins providing scoring punch in Sounders’ preseason
Seattle tied Houston 1-1 on Wednesday and faces D.C. United in its final preseason game Saturday in the Carolina Challenge Cup finale.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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Obafemi Martins continues to look like he’s in regular-season form, as the forward scored his third goal of preseason Wednesday in Sounders FC’s 1-1 tie against the Houston Dynamo in the Carolina Challenge Cup.
Seattle remains unbeaten in the buildup to its March 8 MLS opener with a 5-0-2 record.
Trailing 1-0 late in the first half, Martins tied the score in the 44th minute when he headed in a cross from forward partner Lamar Neagle, a Federal Way native. Martins has a team-leading goal tally in preseason, which has come in just 240 minutes played.
Neither team could find a winner in the second half amid liberal substitutions.
The Sounders’ final preseason game is 2 p.m. Saturday in the Carolina Challenge Cup finale against D.C. United, a team featuring forward Eddie Johnson, who led Seattle in scoring the past two years.
Houston opened the scoring Wednesday in the 14th minute, when midfielder Brad Davis collected a pass in the penalty box from Tony Cascio and fired in a left-footed shot for his fourth goal of preseason.
The Dynamo goal marked the first time the Sounders had trailed in preseason.
In some personnel notes for Seattle, DeAndre Yedlin played the first half, marking his first action in two weeks following a sprained ankle. Leo Gonzalez, another defender recovering from injury (offseason groin surgery), was also able to play the first 45 minutes.
One outstanding issue for Seattle is at goalkeeper, where Stefan Frei and Marcus Hahnemann continue to split time. Frei played all 90 minutes Wednesday, but coach Sigi Schmid told reporters there is no resolution yet in the position battle.
Ockford signed, loaned out
Rookie defender Jimmy Ockford has signed with the Sounders and subsequently been loaned to the New York Cosmos of the second-division North American Soccer League for the 2014 season. As a yearlong loan, Ockford isn’t expected to count against Seattle’s roster. The second-round pick out of Louisville had played 210 minutes in preseason, including 45 against the Dynamo.
Schmid told reporters Ockford is “definitely a player for the future” whose development will benefit from a season’s worth of games.
Cosmos coach Giovanni Savarese said in a news release that Ockford is “a promising young defender.”
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184
On Twitter @joshuamayers