The second-leading scorer in U.S. Men’s National Team history had himself quite the Independence Day.
Clint Dempsey scored the opener, assisted on the winner, and put the insurance goal in as a rest Seattle Sounders team waltzed into Dick’s Sporting Goods Park and took down a tired Colorado Rapids side by a 3-1 score.
The Sounders wasted no time cutting through the heavy-legged Rapids defense. Dempsey provided the opening goal of the game only six minutes in by hammering home a shot past Tim Howard amidst some weak marking by Colorado.
They were, however struck with an injury scare shortly after. Captain Osvaldo Alonso went down with an ominous looking knee injury in the 12th minute. He remained on the field for several minutes before being helped off and replaced by Aaron Kovar.
Chad Marshall also left the match limping fairly early. He was taken off for Tony Alfaro in the 22nd minute.
Despite these early obstacles, the Sounders were able to double their lead before a half hour was gone. Will Bruin provided the second goal in the 30th minute after a long ball into the penalty area took a touch off Dempsey and fell right to him for the easy finish.
The Sounders were quite content to sit back and defend while waiting for the Rapids to break them down, which they did a few times with missed shots before finding a goal.
Alan Gordon had a golden chance in the 74th minute, but he couldn’t tuck his wide open shot from the top of the six inside the post. Moments later, Stefan Frei robbed Dominique Badji immediately after Gordon put a close range header off the crossbar. They finally put one across the line in the 78th minute when Marlon Hairston fed Badji with a perfect cross to the back post.
Any chance the Rapids had of staging a comeback ended in the 85th minute when Dempsey faced onto a flicked header pass from Will Bruin and struck a beautiful left-footed shot across his body and over Howard for his second goal of the night.
The win moved the Sounders back into a playoff spot with 24 points. The Rapids remain in tenth place out West.
Both sides now head into the Gold Cup break. Colorado returns to action on July 22 with a trip to BMO Field to play Toronto FC. Seattle get back at it a day later at home against San Jose Earthquakes.
Man of the Match
Clint Dempsey scored the opening goal and provided a key touch to grab the assist on the second. He also put the game away with a delightful chip for his second of the night.
Moment of the Match
Stefan Frei preserved a result for the Sounders with a great save in the 77th minute. He recovered nicely to rob Badji after Gordon smashed the crossbar with a header from the doorstep.
Match to Forget
Given the chance to do it over again, Pablo Mastroeni would probably have rotated his starting lineup a little more. He trotted out the same 11 players that defeated Houston over the weekend, even with Shkelzen Gashi and Michael Azira available. The side looked lethargic and, at times lazy at the back and they paid the price for it.