Clint Dempsey’s right footed shot in the 71st minute gave Seattle Sounders FC (12-4-2) the separation it needed to beat I-5 rival Portland Timbers (4-5-10) 2-0 Sunday night at Century Link Field in front of 64,207 fans and a national television audience. Before the Dempsey goal Portland keeper Donovan Rickets made back-to-back saves one, which was straight up high way robbery of a Gonzalo Pineda shot.
Robbery or not FC Sounders leading goal scorer was not to be denied on his homecoming night. “ It was fun to get back with the team and contribute, it’s about the team and today we put in a complete effort. It felt good to be and helping.” Clint Dempsey said of his return to the club. Marco Pappa’s left footed shot from the center of the box in the 86th minute found it’s way to the top corner of the Portland net to make it 2-0 and assure Sounders FC of their second victory over the Timbers in less than a week.
The two second half late goals where a contrast to a lack luster first half in which the Sounders FC had no shots on goal and the Timbers had just one. The 64,207 fans in attendance made for a festival atmosphere and both teams played to the crowd rather than stick to their game plan. “ At halftime we talked about pushing our fullbacks up the field and getting being their defense,” Sounders FC Coach Sigi Schmid said of his team’s improved second half play.
Adding to spark to the Sounders FC attack was the second half insertion of Obefami Martins into the game at the 52nd mark. With Seattle pushing it’s fullback up the field and having the midfield players stay wide, Martins and Dempsey where able to find open pockets in the Portland defense. “ Having Obo out there really makes a difference and we feed off each other, Dempsey said of the partnership between him and Martins. The win extends Seattle’s lead in the Western Conference back to 10 points over Real Salt Lake and seven points over D.C United for the best record in MLS.
Seattle Sounders FC Portland Timbers
23(10) Shots (on goal) 9(3)
14 Fouls 17
6 Corner kicks 3
4 Offsides 2
53% Time of Possession 47%
1 Yellow Cards 3
0 Red Cards 0
3 Saves 8