Seattle Sounders Victory Cements Team As MLS Top Dogs
A 4-1 victory over the Colorado Rapids on a day that marked none of the normal Seattle Sunshine we’ve become accustomed to was, as an emphatic return to CenturyLink Field for the Seattle Sounders as one could hope for. A disciplined midfield, excellent down field sight, and crisp passing saw the Boys In Rave Green cruise to an early lead and never look back.
Coming in to the match the Colorado side boasted an exceptionally tight 0.83 goals against average, but the Sounders looked at that as a mere footnote. The Sounders opened the scoring just moments before halftime whistle, with Lamar Neagle ( new hashtag : #253NeaGoal ) netting his third goal of the campaign. It was an absolutely beautiful little set up as Obafemi Martins placed a perfectly weighted through ball to the cultured feet of Dempsey who went in alone against Rapids goalkeeper Clint Irwin. Dempsey’s shot was in on a tight angle and Irwin couldn’t contain it. Rapids defender Drew Moor attempted to clear but his efforts placed the ball directly in front of Lamar. The rest was elementary. 1-0 good guys and the festivities were only getting started.
The Clint Dempsey Show continued shortly after the restart as he netted his 7th goal of the year in the 47th minute. Not satisfied with just one goal, Dempsey would live up to his nickname and score a Deuce in the 67th minute off an aerial pinball like set of plays. Marco Pappa took a corner kick (and did quite well on all the corners today) and put it a touch outside 14 yards, seemingly off target. Savvy veteran Chad Marshall headed it back toward the top of the goal box where Dempsey laid it wait. A looping header of his own, Clint caught Irwin laughably out of position and notched his second of the match (League leading 8th on the year).
I think Clint’s got, what now, eight goals? And he’s only played in six games – one he played off the bench for us. So it’s as good a streak. I don’t know what the records are – so many goals, in so many games – but he might be setting some of those.” – Coach Sigi Schmid on Clint Dempsey`s impressive start
Colorado’s Dillon Serna would manage the only Rapids brace of the match, coming in the 62nd minute on a textbook solo run that Sounders GK Stefen Frei didn’t have a chance at. By all accounts, it was an outstanding effort by US U-21 standout. The comeback trail was cut short as Obafemi Martins buried his 3rd of the year off of a Neagle throw-in at the 75th. The “ObaFlip” was performed expertly, much hugging was had, and the Sounders ended the route at 4-1.
The Sounders played a total team game for the first time this season. Disciplined throughout, the passes were well made (making 85% of their 619 attempts) and few mistakes were made over all. A great bit of tiki-taka between Dempsey, Martins, & Neagle nearly produced several more goals. It showed an attack that was firing on all cylinders and one that the rest of the League should take note of. Playing well through the midfield, shutting down a quick Rapids attack with strong yet precise tackles, Gonzalo Pineda played his best match of the year so far. Another excellent showing came from up & coming Dylan Remick, who also shone brightly throughout the match in place of injured Leo Gonzalez. Winning the aerial battles throughout the match, as well as placing several crosses that nearly resulted in goals, Remick continues to improve each and every outing he makes. The speed up the wings from the youthful duo of Remick & DeAndre Yedlin, anchored by the veteran presence of Traoré & Marshall, shut the Rapids attack down on what few chances they managed to make it through the solid midfield.
“I think it’s our team confidence and getting in a good rhythm of play and building off of that. Yeah, you can see that the link-up play is pretty good throughout the whole team. We’re creating opportunities for each other. It’s not just me and Oba. Other players are making a difference and getting in good shots, and we’re able to finish off those chances.” – Clint Dempsey on the Sounders excellent play.
All in all, it was as close to “Total Football” as the Sounders have come. A full team effort they are becoming the force that we all knew they could be. Seattle now looks on to next Saturday, May 3rd, against the Philadelphia Union.
- Clint Dempsey’s braces gives him a league-leading 8 goals, and a league-leading 1.33 goals per game. The Sounders have three players with at least three goals and three assists: Dempsey (8G, 3A), Martins (3G, 4A) and Neagle (3G, 3A)
- Neagle’s first half goal ended the Rapids’ 248-minute shutout streak and marked the first time a first-half goal had been scored against them this season.
- Clint Dempsey & Obafemi Martins have contributed (scored or assisted) to 16 of Seattle’s 18 goals this season. Those 18 goals have come in only 8 matches. A year ago it wasn’t until the 13th match the Sounders met that mark.
- The Sounders were on target out there, recording 13 shots on goal, a new team record. Rapids GK Clint Irwin made 9 saves on the day, also a record for a Sounders opponent.
- Stefan Frei, Chad Marshall, and DeAndre Yedlin have played every minute so far this season.
- The Sounders extend their overall record against the Rapids to 9-2-2 in all competitions.
- The were 38,582 Rave Green Faithful in attendance at The CLink.