The Seattle Sounders had quite a productive Sunday.
With a 4-2 victory over the Portland Timbers at Providence Park, Seattle grabbed leads in the Western Conference, Supporters’ Shield race and Cascadia Cup standings.
Perhaps more importantly, the Sounders also got a loud bounce-back performance from their dynamic forward duo of Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins, who overwhelmed the Portland defense by combining for three goals and three assists. With the goals, each Seattle star ended lengthy scoring droughts. Dempsey hadn’t netted since Seattle’s last match against Portland on July 13, while Martins’ last goal in MLS play came vs. Chicago on June 7.
“Our team went out there with an attitude. We wanted to make a statement today,” Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid told reporters after the game. “I’m very pleased with our attitude and the result today.”
Dempsey was held out of Seattle’s starting lineup on Wednesday against the San Jose Earthquakes due to fatigue concerns. But the striker looked plenty energetic on his goal in the 34th minute, finishing a perfect feed from Martins after sprinting all the way into the Portland box from the Seattle side of the field.
“It’s really important for [Dempsey and Martins] to get back on the board,” Schmid said. “What a lot of people don’t realize is Dempsey made an 80-yard run to get into the box on that thing. He was at least 15-yards behind the center circle. That’s just tremendous effort and awareness and commitment.”
Seattle midfielder Brad Evans also lauded Dempsey’s epic sprint, saying that the rest of the team fed off the high-intensity play.
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“He booked it there,” Evans said. “That’s just pure determination, heart and grit…I think guys feed off of that. When everybody puts in that little bit extra, the results tend to go your way.”
“It was a great ball from Oba,” Dempsey said of the goal. “Not only does he score goals, but he creates opportunities for others. I thought he played really well today.”
Seattle’s third goal came from substitute Chad Barrett, who is establishing himself as a lethal weapon for the Sounders. Barrett cashed in his seventh goal of the season in the 70th minute, scorching a shot from inside the box that deflected off Portland goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts and into the net to give the Sounders a commanding 3-0 lead.
After a strong start to the season, the Sounders had won just twice in their last seven matches, struggling to recapture the offensive firepower the team had displayed earlier in the season. Now, with the positive result against Portland, the Sounders have a good-looking 14-7-3 record and some positive momentum as they head into next weekend’s home match-up against the Colorado Rapids.