By IVES GALARCEP
FC Dallas has enjoyed a dream start to the 2014 MLS season. A combination of good soccer and good fortune had helped Oscar Pareja’s side jump out to a 4-0-1 record and first place in the West. For 74 minutes it looked like FC Dallas might continue their hot streak.
Then Clint Dempsey got going, and took the Sounders on yet another wild comeback ride.
Just a week after leading Seattle to a two-goal comeback in a 4-4 tie with Portland, Dempsey was at it again, scoring two goals and forcing an own goal with a smart shot into traffic, to help the Sounders erase a 2-1 deficit and earn a 3-2 victory at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.
Dempsey started his busy night with a first-class free kick that battered the underside of the crossbar before bouncing in and past FC Dallas goalkeeper Chris Seitz. Even after Michel converted a penalty kick earned after David Texeira drew a foul in the penalty area from DeAndre Yedlin, FC Dallas couldn’t avoid Dempsey’s heroics.
The U.S. Men’s National Team captain forced a Stephen Keel own goal when he sent a low shot toward the front of goal that Keel re-directed past his own goalkeeper to make the score 2-2 in the 75th minute.
Just 10 minutes later, Dempsey capped his standout night by working a passing combination with Chad Barrett and finishing off a Barrett pass in front of goal to make the score 3-2, handing FC Dallas their first loss of the season.
Dempsey’s heroics helped offset a forgettable night for multiple members of Seattle’s rear guard. Goalkeeper Stefan Frei surrendered the first FC Dallas goal when he came out for a bouncing ball only to see the wind carry the ball over his head, where David Texeira raced onto it and headed into an empty net.
Yedlin also struggled on the night, with the low point coming when he elbowed Texeira in the penalty area in the 42nd minute to give FC Dallas a penalty kick that Michel easily converted.
The victory pulled the Sounders into a three-way tie for second place in the West (with Colorado and Real Salt Lake), just three points behind first-place FC Dallas.
Seattle returns to action on Saturday against Chivas USA, while FC Dallas meets Toronto FC.
Here are the match highlights: