Someone may want to tell the Seattle Sounders that there are no added points for degree of difficulty.
The Sounders beat Chivas USA 2-1 on Saturday, but only after falling behind on a 5th minute penalty by Erick Torres. It was the second straight week in which the Sounders won after surrendering the first goal and the third straight week in which they managed a result despite falling behind -- all of which have come on the road.
“I think it speaks to the character of our team and our ability to be able to stick that away,” Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said. “One nothing is nothing and you just have to overcome it and you gotta play again. I think that’s what we’ve shown and we’ve been able to do that. Obviously, ideally we’d like to get in front at the beginning and win the game that way. But right now we’ll take what we get.”
To make this comeback happen, the Sounders got another stellar performance from Clint Dempsey. The Sounders captain registered assists on both goals -- giving him six goals and three assists through five matches played this season.
The first assist came after Dan Kennedy mishandled a ball in the penalty area. Dempsey used the outside of his right boot to hit the loose ball back toward goal, where it hit Chad Marshall and fell to Lamar Neagle, who pounded it into the back of the net for his second goal of the season.
Dempsey’s second assist came after Chivas USA had been reduced to 10 men on Marco Delgado’s studs-up tackle in the 73rd minute. With Obafemi Martins once again filling the role of a target forward, he took a pass about 50 yards from goal and tapped it back to Dempsey, who raced into the space that had been opened up. After dribbling about 20 yards up and drawing a couple defenders, Dempsey placed a perfectly weighted ball into Martins’ path. The Nigerian international let the ball run just long enough to draw Kennedy off his line and then chipped it into the back of the net for his second goal of the season, ending a three-match scoring drought.
“We know our quality, we know that if we do concede that we have players that can create chances and get goals also,” Dempsey said. “We'll fight until the end, we have a lot of character on this team.”
Once again, it was not the Sounders’ most dominant performance. But unlike the past couple years, the Sounders are finding ways to win anyway. They closed this three-game road trip with seven points and are now 3-0-1 on the road for the season. A year ago the Sounders went 5-10-2.
“Obviously we want to continue to win games at home,” said Schmid, whose team is 1-2-0 at CenturyLink Field. “Our road record had been very, very good and our home record is not so good at the moment, so we need to get our home record good as well.”