It happened against the LA Galaxy, and it included some flashes of brilliance from Dempsey too.
Dempsey scored his first goal since the March international break — something that’s been foreshadowed over his last few performances. In Sunday's 3-0 win over the Galaxy, Dempsey again hit the crossbar — his fourth clanker of the season, the most of any player in MLS.
But it would seem his goal — and plenty of other promising moments — is a sign of a return to form for the US national team star who missed the latter half of 2016 due to an irregular heartbreak.
“Absolutely,” Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer said. “I mean I really hope. That chance he had in the second half, he had some half-chances, he’s played well with the national team. Yes, he is absolutely back. And we’re very pleased to have him back."
Lodeiro recorded his first primary assist to Dempsey since becoming a Sounder last summer, and Dempsey very nearly connected with Morris for a second goal. Dempsey himself had the assist on Morris’ goal to cap the Sounders’ first-half scoring blitz.
The Sounders know that's how they'll have to play if they hope to continue their charge up the Western Conference table after getting off to a slow start.
“When you have players that are very good, it gives you a good chance of coming up with performances like this," Schmetzer said. “I’m just proud of the team, proud of Stefan [Frei] doing his part. It’s part of [assistant coach Gonzalo Peneda]’s thing — we start our possession from the back. All around, it was a good team performance.”
Moving over to the left wing, Morris was able to use his speed to win one-on-one battles with the likes of Ashley Cole. He and Lodeiro both continually switched their side of the attacking third, and worked to get touches in the midfield as well. And Will Bruin, given his first start up top for the Sounders, was commended for his holdup play, which worked to free up space for Dempsey, Morris and Lodeiro behind him.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Sounders outpassed the Galaxy in all categories except crosses.
“We’re all getting that chemistry back together,” said Morris. “Obviously you saw [Dempsey] set me up perfectly on the goal and scored his own. I think the four of us up front is still a work in progress, but today was a good example of what we’re capable of."