Dempsey makes debut as Sounders post third straight win with road triumph vs. TFC

Mauro Rosales


It didn’t have nearly the fan fare of his introduction to Seattle Sounders fans last week, but Clint Dempsey isn’t likely to care that his Sounders debut . The U.S. Men’s National Team captain will walk away from Saturday night’s road match vs. Toronto FC happy to know the Sounders’ third straight win has Seattle right back in the MLS playoff picture.

The Sounders jumped out to a 2-0 first-half lead in a match that saw Toronto FC have the better of the play in the opening stanza, but a pair of defensive blunders ultimately cost TFC in a 2-1 loss at BMO Field on Saturday.

Mauro Rosales opened the scoring in the 16th minute courtesy of an Eddie Johnson header pass, then Lamar Neagle forced a Doneil Henry own goal in the 40th minute to give the Sounders the goals they would need to hold off a TFC side that showed good flashes at times, and needed just 30 seconds in the second half to find a goal courtesy of Jonathan Osorio.

TFC nearly stole a point late in second-half stoppage time when Jeremy Brockie slipped behind the Seattle defense unmarked and latched onto a pass before turning on goal only to have Marcus Hahnemann make a vital save to preserve the victory for the Sounders.

The victory pushes the Sounders into fourth place in the Western Conference, with at least a game in hand on the other teams in the West playoff chase.

Dempsey didn’t start in his Seattle debut, but came on earlier than expected after replacing an injured Obafemi Martins in the 34th minute. Martins left the match after being injured by a Henry challenge.

Dempsey was active in his first appearance for the Sounders, drawing fouls, finding a lot of the ball as he tried a plethora of long-range shots. He came closest in the 70th minute with a curling low shot that forced a diving one-handed stop from Joe Bendik.

Rosales opened the scoring after a Brad Evans floated pass found Johnson in the penalty area. Johnson promptly headed it toward Rosales, who finished the chance experty.

Neagle helped make it 2-0 when he out-muscled Richard Eckersley for the ball on the left flank and raced in before unleashing a low cross that Henry accidentally back-heeled into his own net.

TFC started the second half well, with Osorio needing just 30 seconds to find the net and make the score 2-1, but Seattle did well to hold off Toronto FC, while keeping pressure on the home team’s defense.

Here are the match highlights:

  • Troy

    Dempsey should not have been called for offside late in the game. He was on but then again MLS officials arent qualified enough to officiate a rec. league. The lack of calls or blown calls were very sad. Mark Geiger is high on the list for the World Cup as well. What a joke.,,,

    Anyways Dempsey, without much training and just getting over a virus, looked really good. He probably should have had a goal on the offside and the keeper made a very good save. Dempsey’s quality really shouldnt be here. He is really good by MLS standards.


    • 20

      “Dempsey’s quality really shouldn’t be here.”

      What is that supposed to mean? So Henry, Donovan, Keane, Di Vaio, Cahill etc shouldn’t be in MLS either? There are stars in every league, and these guys are encouraging other great players, American and foreign, to stay here or come here.


      • Ben

        I agree with your point, but MLS needs to step up the quality of their ref s and quick like.


    • GW

      I remember when Freddy Adu went to Philly and was supposed tear MLS defenses apart.

      That never did happen.


      • phillypride

        I hardly remember anyone saying that Adu would tear defenses apart. And if someone did say that, they clearly either hadn’t been paying attention or were deluding themselves.


      • phillypride

        Are you implying that the same might be true of Dempsey!? Adu and Dempsey are nothing alike. Please don’t tell me I need to go into detail about why.


      • GW

        Mr. pride,

        The implication is that people underrate MLS. Seattle is not the EPL but then Clint wasn’t likely to be playing a lot anyway. Yes, we all know the Clint mantra that he always prevails but there is a limit to that. And Spurs were willing to sell him. Fulham never really was. That tells you he is not what he was. If he was so important to them he would have been kept. It’s not like he was costing them a ton of money.

        MLS has gotten a lot better since Adu left and since Dempsey left . We saw how much time Freddy got, regardless of the reasons. And while I expect Clint will be just fine I don’t subscribe to the notion that he will lose a lot of sharpness in MLS and thus hurt the USMNT.

        He has always retained his scoring touch, (he will probably be able to score into his 40’s), regardless of how the rest of his “game” was going. And now that Donovan is back and the overall level of talent is rising in the USMNT, he need only focus on his predatory side for the US. He does not have to “carry” the team as much as he used to.

        Overall, I would say this is better for the USMNT even if JK may not agree. Besides I expect Clint will be phased out of the team after the WC. For the first time I can remember it seems as if there is scoring talent waiting in the wings.



      • Rabbit

        Interesting approach to handling (well deserved) criticism of your original post — write a response so long and tedious that it renders your opponent too weary to respond.


    • LiquidYogi

      Troy I don’t think you know much about officiating soccer. In fact I doubt you have even reffed the Rec league you think the top referees in the country should be reffing in.

      Mark Geiger is top of the list for the World Cup and his international assignments have been excellent. Experts on refereeing think he’s great, but not Troy on the internet so he must be a joke.


      • Troy

        Geiger gives yellow’s yesterday on a dive (which was a foul) now if he wanted to warn Johnson for embellishing a foul (throwing his arms up like the end of the world that is fine) and Rosales for time wasting. The time wasting was probably legitimate and happens every game almost. As a Seattle fan I also think that Alonso should have gotten a yellow on his second rash challenge where he was already warned previously.

        It seems that Geiger allows contact, which IS FINE, but there are times that he lets too much go. If you want to crown Geiger as the best official in MLS fine but let’s not act like that is some great award. MLS officiating is absolutely terrible and they need to do more. As the players in this league have an upward trajectory; I would hope that the officials would as well.

        A lot the time a player will get beat in this league and they will try a rough challenge which leads to a foul or sometimes nothing. Maybe its a mandate from the league to make our soccer look “tough,” or something. Too many rough challenges, are met with nothing.


    • Chupacabra

      Dempsey was offside. The reply angle used by the Seattle homer broadcast team was misleading, but even that showed that Dempsey was offside if you actually know the rule. Hint: any part of the body that can play the ball . . .


  • dcpohl

    I wonder if someday Dempsey will rue this decision. He could have had at least two more great seasons in Europe.


    • JRP

      I wonder if you will ever see the fact that the MLS is a viable option for great players, or whether your bias will continue to blind you to that fact.


      • Yusef

        Spain has a viable professional basketball league too, but the best Spanish players (Gasol bothers, Rubio, etc.) play in the NBA because it’s better. Bias has nothing to do with it.


      • Pingunça

        Maybe he came back just to spite you.. it’s possible ya know..


      • Dave

        Players come to the NBA largely because it pays better, the taxes are lower, and you can start the clock to become a citizen if you wish.

        I am guessing Clint’s take home went up, his expenses went down and his wife is happy.


      • Joamiq

        It would be difficult to overstate how inapposite that is as a comparison


      • Paul

        If you are trying to saying how inapt Yusef’s example is, please elaborate because I see the parallels. If you are referencing Dave’s example…then I agree with you.


      • eddie

        Spaniards come to the NBA for money and lower taxes primarily. The level of play is secondary to most. If they were able to reap the benefits financially in Spain, they would never join the NBA.

        Spaniards aren’t crazy about America in general and have a chip on their shoulders to say the least. Clint Dempsey in an American man, and belongs with the RED, WHITE and BLUE. Who cares about Europe and their league more than the American product, accept for some non American persuasion.


      • jcr

        Would have or could have is beside he point. From a personal standpoint, Dempsey clearly wanted to come back to the U.S., but from a player development or at least maintenance standpoint, it is a near universal opinion among coaches that playing in the premiership is far more beneficial to playing in MLS. I am an MLS fan, but I agree with this. The quality of the play, the quickness the day in day challenges in practices and in the games, are what makes the difference. You can see a player get away with more in MLS and he gets thrown into the premiership and he finds he has to improve the quickness of his play both technically and mentally. I am sure Klinsman is not thrilled. This does not necessarilly mean that Dempsey’s play will decline or not improve as much which I hope doesn’t, but we will never know just based on his individual performance where he might have been.


      • Paul

        So someone puts together a well-reasoned response and all you have a snide retort???

        Listen, I agree with JCR to an extent in that coming to MLS is right for Dempsey because it is what he wants and (apparently) makes him really happy. I don’t think that he will suddenly suffer a drastic dropoff by playing in the MLS, but I do think his sharpness will drop a little because he will get away with more here than in the EPL where everything gets punished and quality of play is higher.

        I am a huge MLS fan. Clint coming here is good for the league in terms of it making it a viable option for players still in their peak, However, from a professional standpoint, I don’t know if it’s the best. It’s all conjecture at this point and only time will tell


      • JRP

        Yawn, again. It isn’t your decision to make. You think he would have started more than a dozen games? He didn’t think so. Common sense doesn’t say so. And he left.
        And actually, I think Clint coming here isn’t good for the league. I think it is best for Clint. And a good move for the Sounders. From a small market club perspective (RSLTID), this is the beginning of the end of parity in the MLS.


      • GW


        You are correct, especially in the long term, but I don’t care about Clint long term. He’ll be phased out after Brazil. Then he can go fishing all he wants.

        The point here is how much will the move hurt Dempsey’s USMNT form for Brazil?

        If Geoff Cameron came back tomorrow to play for Houston, I would say it would negatively affect his form for Brazil. He is a comparative newbie at that level and still has much to learn.
        Clint’s not like that. Despite his age, Dempsey can get better than what we have already seen but what we have already seen for the US is very good.

        Yet Spurs and it seems most suitable (for US fans) teams in Europe didn’t think Clint was worth his salary anymore. So they were unwilling to finance his self- improvement program. I don’t know that Clint even had the option to stay with Spurs but if he did would scratching out a game here and there, hoping for a wave of injuries be better for retaining his sharpness than regular play at Seattle and then a loan to who knows who at the end of the season?

        Some would say a struggle at Spurs would sharpen Deuce and make him hungry to make a point all season and going into the WC. I say wanting to prove this move to be a good one might motivate him in Brazil (assuming he is on the team) just as much.

        All I know is it is very obvious Clint’s priorities have changed and there is nothing anyone, least of all Clint Dempsey, can do about it. Ironically, this is exactly the same dilemma Donovan faced and he solved it the same way. In the end both guys prioritized the World Cup.

        You can’t force these guys to be the superstars you want them to be.


      • Lassidawg

        They will make the playoffs, check the standings then pay attention to the GP portion.


      • Troy

        Seattle will make the playoffs. They are 3rd in PPM in the entire league at 1.62, KC is at 1.63, and RSL at 1.73. They have matches in hand and a favorable schedule (more home games). Seattle will make the playoffs and I wouldnt be the least bit surprised if they end up 2nd in the west.


  • Travis

    The officiating was yet again less than stellay. EJ gets a yellow for a dive but Osorio doesn’t get one for a very similar dive? Also he let defenders on both sides kick legs from behind all night long without giving the fouls.

    Can a TFC fan tell me why they don’t play like they did in the second half more often? Was sure Seattle was going to throw away the points after a good first half performance.


    • C to the D

      TFC DOES play like that all the time. It’s just that we have ZERO finish: our DP Striker has been injured for more than a year now.



    • Troy

      The only play I believe you could be pointing to was a few yards out of the box. I think he went down because he was upended on a solid challenge. He will probably get that call more than he should. Unless you are talking about his first touch which happened because Eddie made a poor pass. Morgan recovered and went shoulder to shoulder after Dempsey made a heavy touch. Morgan shouldered him down quite well but that wasnt a dive either.


  • divers suck

    Lost in you’alls silly arguments over whether Dempsey made the right decision to come to MLS is the fact that Deuce will likely get loaned in the MLS off-season to an EPL club that will give him far more playing time than Spurs ever would of. Thus keeping him sharp for Brazil….As someone earlier pointed out, Dempsey, Donovan and the rest of the USMNT over 30 (save for Howard and Guzan in goal) will likely get phased out of the NAT team picture…..For me, this is perfect timing for Deuce coming back to MLS, and also very PROFITABLE for him!


  • Johnnypauly

    Barring injury or unforseen disaster, Deuce will be back in the prem (or a top 4 league across the pond) on loan in January. Maybe even to a squad in the CL. Then we can all relax. The man will play nonstop football right through the World Cup. Then he’ll go fishing.


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