Dempsey recorded a brace and an assist in the Seattle Sounders’ 3-1 victory over visiting RSL. Seattle pounced on a struggling Claret-and-Cobalt, who gave up three quick goals as put the game away in the first 20 minutes.
Normally mild-mannered and introspective Real Salt Lake defender Tony Beltran was unhappy going into the halftime break. During an on-air interview, he was visibly upset and called the team’s performance “pathetic.” After the match, he was able to elaborate.
“I didn’t see much from us,” Beltran said. “I saw a group of men who came out here and didn’t show up. If you’re going to do that against a team like Seattle and [Clint] Dempsey and [Obafemi] Martins, you’re going to get punished.
"If we didn’t want to play those first 20 minutes, we should’ve stayed in Salt Lake. After that, for whatever reason, we woke up. That’s what I saw.”
Seattle were playing to ensure an Audi 2015 MLS Playoffs berth and got exactly what they wanted when Dempsey scored a goal in just the 5th minute of play. The Seattle man was between two RSL players but still beat them to the cross and poked home the opening goal, before Marco Pappa effectively put the match to bed five minutes later, shooting through traffic to double Seattle's lead. Dempsey added a third Sounders goal at the 20-minute mark.
Coming out of the half, RSL played significantly better, but couldn’t climb out of the cavernous 3-0 hole. After the game, RSL head coach Jeff Cassar spoke about his halftime talk, saying that the first 20 minutes of the game, the defense just wasn’t good enough.
“We just said that we’ve got to win this half,” Cassar said. “It’s tough to come back from 3-0. It wasn’t an Xs-and-Os thing. For me it was the reactions more than anything. I’m really proud of the guys for the second half effort, but moving forward we need to get better, both the staff and on the field to improve and not have a year like this again.”
Luis Gil pulled a goal back in the 77th minute – his 1st of the season for RSL – to make the final result more respectable.
Beltran nutmegged the Seattle defender with his low cross, and found Gil wide open in the box. The RSL midfielder slotted the shot home and made it 3-1.
“I was very proud of the way the boys played in the second half, but it almost makes it even better,” Beltran said. “We could’ve played that way in the first half. It’s been the story of the season really. We’re a good enough team to play against those guys and to beat them, but we didn’t show up those first 20 minutes.”
RSL finish the season ninth in the Western Conference (41 points), ending their seven-year playoff appearance streak.