SEATTLE — Clint Dempsey and the Seattle Sounders are on quite a roll.
The US captain scored two more goals — giving him a league-leading eight — and the Sounders won their third straight, a 4-1 victory over the Colorado Rapids on Saturday. Seven of Dempsey’s goals have come during the Sounders’ four-match unbeaten run and he has now scored in or assisted in all six matches he’s played this season.
The Sounders opened the scoring just before the halftime whistle on Lamar Neagle’s third goal of the season. Obafemi Martins did not get an assist, but deserves a good share of credit for the goal. It was his perfectly weighted through ball that put Dempsey in alone against Rapids goalkeeper Clint Irwin. Dempsey was able to round Irwin with his first touch, but was forced to send in a shot from a tight angle. Rapids defender Drew Moor was able to get just enough of the ball to keep it out of the net, but his block went right to Neagle who smashed it into the net.
That ended the Rapids’ 248-minute shutout streak and marked the first time a first-half goal had been scored in any of their matches this season.
As it turned out, the goal also opened the floodgates. The Sounders came out flying to start the second half, scoring two goals and nearly scoring a couple more by the 52nd minute.
Dempsey got his first of the game in the 47th minute, tapping in a rebound from Marco Pappa’s shot. Although the goal was about as easy as any Dempsey will score, the Sounders captain helped create it with a back-heeled flick that gave Pappa an open look from about 10 yards out. Irwin was able to make a diving save on the intial attempt, but the rebound went right to Dempsey.
A couple more golden chances came just a a few minutes later, with Irwin first stopping a Dempsey shot off a Martins feed and then stopping Martins on a 1-v-1 chance. The resulting corner kick, however, led to Seattle's third goal.
Pappa put it in a ball about 14 yards out that Chad Marshall headed back toward goal, where Dempsey was waiting near the top of the goal box. Dempsey then looped his header over Irwin, who was stranded in no-man’s land.
The Rapids were able to make a game of it, at least for a few minutes. Dillon Serna, who had spent the week with the United States U21 team, got his first professional goal off a through ball from Nick LaBrocca.
The Rapids' hopes of a comeback were short-lived, though, as the Sounders effectively put the match away 12 minutes later on Martins’ third goal of the season. The Nigerian took a quick throw-in from Neagle, made a quick move to free up some space and slotted the ball inside the far post.
The Sounders (5-2-1) have now won three straight and have scored multiple goals in four straight games, a span in which they’ve claimed 10 points and found the back of the net 13 times.
The Rapids (3-2-2) saw their three-game unbeaten streak snapped and have still never won in eight MLS matches at CenturyLink Field.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
USMNT fans will hope Deuce is not peaking a month early: The Sounders' No. 2 is inspired and his two goals and numerous, inventive heel flicks are the evidence.
Had a hand in all four goals and did it all: Great passes (his through ball on the first goal was exquisite), tireless runs into space (see his goal), and clever combination play. The partnership with Dempsey is flourishing.
With the Rapids midfield mostly in defensive mode, the youngster was the only Rapids player with any clear ideas in the attack. He was rewarded for his effort with his first MLS goal.