Martins and Johnson power Sounders past FC Dallas with Dempsey watching

FC Dallas at Seattle Sounders FC


SEATTLE – Aside from the pregame introduction of a certain newcomer, Saturday night at CenturyLink Field was perhaps most noteworthy for a backflip becoming increasingly familiar and a salute the Seattle Sounders hope becomes routine.

With 39,360 still buzzing from the introduction of Clint Dempsey before the match, the Sounders darted out to an early lead over FC Dallas and never looked back, riding goals from Obafemi Martins, Eddie Johnson, and Brad Evans to a 3-0 win.

In just the eighth minute, Martins found himself completely unmarked on a deep free kick from Mauro Rosales and rifled a short-range header past goalkeeper Raul Fernandez for the 1-0 lead.

The Nigerian’s trademark backflips ensued for the seventh time this season, and it didn’t take the Sounders long to add another goal.

In the 22nd minute, Evans floated a long through-ball over the Dallas back line to a streaking Johnson, who took a touch to gather himself before burying a right-footed shot past Fernandez for his fifth goal of the season and the 2-0 lead.

Johnson then stared up toward Demspey’s suite and offered a salute familiar to most any fan of the United States Men’s National Team.

“Obviously happy with the score line, happy that we got a shutout,” said Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid. “I thought we played very well in the first half, got on top of the game with the two-nothing lead.”

Evans polished off a long-ago decided game in the third minute of stoppage time, converting a penalty kick awarded by referee Edvin Jurisevic after David Ferreira bumped down Lamar Neagle in the area.

“The penalty in stoppage time was the icing on the cake,” Schmid said, “and gave everyone free haircuts.”

A national hair salon offers free haircuts to anyone presenting a Sounders’ ticket stub when the team scores three or more goals.

With the victory, the Sounders rose to 31 points on a 9-7-4 record and wrapped up an important three-game home stand with two wins and a draw. After an ugly stretch that saw them record just one win in five matches, the Sounders have now won two of three and look to be rounding into form just in time for Dempsey’s arrival.

FC Dallas had reason to hope the return of Blas Perez from duty with the Panamanian national team would spark an anemic offense, but it wasn’t to be.

The visitors never challenged goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann, failing to put a shot on frame all night. The only real Dallas threat came in the 69th minute, when Mauro Diaz got on the end of a pass into the box from Fabian Castillo and sent a shot just wide of the left post.

The loss left Dallas (8-6-8, 32 points) winless in nine straight matches, an 0-4-5 stretch that toppled them from the top of the Western Conference to sixth place and—for the moment, anyway—out of the playoffs.

To make matters worse, the shutout extended Dallas’ scoreless drought to a club-record 450 minutes. They last found the back of the net six games ago, in a 2-2 draw against the Philadelphia Union on June 29.

“I don’t think we created enough opportunities,” said Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman. “It seems like we’re very content with keeping the ball, but not really going anywhere.”

Seattle now leads the all-time series 6-4-1. The Sounders have also outscored Dallas 7-2 this season after Saturday’s trouncing and a 4-2 mid-May victory in Texas. The teams play for a third and final time on Oct. 19 at FC Dallas Stadium.

Looking forward, both teams are in action next weekend, with Seattle traveling to Toronto FC (3-10-8, 17 points) and Dallas hosting the Los Angeles Galaxy (10-9-3, 32 points).

  • Hopper

    What a night in Seattle. I got chills when Dempsey took off his hoodie to reveal his Sounders jersey underneath, and 40,000 people went nuts.

    Oba and EJ up front, with Dempsey as an attacking central midfielder … Alonso defensive mid with Neagle and Rosales on the flanks. #WatchOutMLS


    • John

      If, but more likely when Seattle and LA meet in the playoffs, it’ll be the biggest MLS game in its history.


      • Jay Bonds

        Seattle has to make the playoffs first. They should because they still have 3 less matches played compared to 1st place team in the West.


  • Chris

    Could also see Seattle playing with EJ playing wide left, Martins up top, and Dempsey playing the withdrawn striker behind him.

    This might solve the occasional problem of Johnson and Martins both occupying the same space when playing as the forward pairing together.


  • RevsRule

    As a loooong time Revs fan I’d like to add this. Dempsey’s stock rose in MLS with the Revs when he was playiing DM. He would push forward, from a deep position, and often found himself unmarked. This led to a lot of goals and he started getting attention.

    I find Ive’s comments on the Revs and their owner to be spot on. Anyone familiar with the Revs and their decline knows that the Kraft family have little interest in this team and certainly little interest in spending any money to improve them. It’s too bad that the rest of the league can’t force the owner to invest in the team or sell to somebody that will. They are killing professional soccer in New England by fielding a bargain basement team.


    • Eurosnob

      Kraft does not have any incentive to invest and improve the team because there is no risk of them being relegated.


      • Tony in Quakeland

        I am not a fan of the relegation argument, but this is the only point in it’s favor. Of course it applies to every single American sport too, and it cuts both ways. Are you going to spend $100 million in a franchise fee, invest in a stadium, buy players, etc., if you risked being relegated at the end of your first year?

        But unfortunately, Kraft gets to watch the value of his franchise increase while doing nothing.


  • Andrew In Tally

    Jason, I watched the highlights of the game and its inaccurate to say Martin rifled the header. It was more of a flick. Also rifled a header just doesn’t right. You rifle a shot, which works for shooting with your leg but rifling a header is hard to picture. Just say. I’m delighted for the Sounders. Hope Dempsey can stay healthy.


    • Tony in Quakeland

      Worse, saying he rifled it takes away from the cleverness of the shot. It was a perfectly placed flick with his back to the goal.


      • Andrew In Tally

        couldn’t have said it better. certainly a clever flick. Pure skill. not power.


  • BToom

    Dallas playing such a high line against the quickness of Seattle was down right suicidal. Even into the 2nd half they made no change.


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