By Don Ruiz The News Tribune
SEATTLE — The Seattle Sounders entertained a crowd of 38,582 at CenturyLink Field on Saturday with a 4-1 win over the Colorado Rapids.
Afterward, Sounder after Sounder volunteered that they had enjoyed it, too.
And why not? The result moved them into a tie atop of the MLS standings. Those four goals matched their season high. And Clint Dempsey extended his sizzling streak with his seventh and eighth goals of the season.
“We’re obviously happy with a win, pleased with how we played,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “… It was a lot of fun out there for each other: working, playing off of each other. (I) wish we hadn’t given up a goal — I wish we had a clean sheet — but the offense was very good.”
For all of the goals that eventually poured in, the teams very nearly made it to halftime in a scoreless draw.
However, Seattle broke through about a minute into first-half stoppage time, when Lamar Neagle knocked in the rebound of a Dempsey shot.
Then Dempsey got the next two himself, scoring twice in the first seven minutes of the second half.
Colorado (3-2-2) answered with a goal from Dillon Serna that briefly cut Seattle’s lead to 3-1. But then Obafemi Martins set the final score with his third goal of the season.
“That’s when you enjoy your ball the most: when everybody’s contributing and everybody feels valued,” Dempsey said. “We didn’t get frustrated in the beginning of the first half … we kept plugging away and were able to get that goal going into half that gives you a little bit of a lift.”
By the end, there was plenty of credit to go around.
As a team, the Sounders (5-2-1) extended their winning streak to three games, their unbeaten streak to four games and snapped a two-game losing streak at home. They extended their MLS-record run of 14 consecutive results (9-0-5) in April. Seattle remained unbeaten (6-0-1) in seven home matches with the Rapids and now leads the overall series 9-2-2. They extended their club-record run of scoring in eight straight games to start a season.
Individually, Neagle and Martins moved into a tie for second on the club with three goals each. Gonzalo Pineda moved into a tie for second with three assists. And Chad Marshall’s assist on Dempsey’s second goal was his second of the season, one short of his career best.
Yet for all that, there was no ignoring the scorching run of Dempsey who is the league’s goals leader and has recorded a goal or assist in all six games he’s played. This was his third multi-goal game of the season. His goal total already is within two of his MLS career high (2005) and matches his second best (2006).
Schmid was asked if he’s ever seen anything like it.
“In 2002 with Carlos Ruiz with the regular season and the playoffs averaged a goal a game. That’s a pretty incredible run for a whole season,” he said. “But I think Clint’s got — what now, eight goals? — and he’s only played in six games (including one) off the bench for us. So it’s as good a streak.”
Dempsey was asked if he’s ever done anything like it.
“The year that I scored 23 with Fulham, I was on a pretty good run there,” he said. “But yeah, it feels good. We’re on a good rhythm as a team.”
Seattle’s offensive explosion came against a Colorado team that had run its shutout streak to 247 minutes — before allowing four goals over the next 28 minutes. The Rapids came in having allowed only five goals during their first six games.
“The two guys up top really made a difference,” Colorado coach Pablo Mastroeni said. “Martins and Dempsey really caused us a bit of grief. Against a team like this, you definitely don’t want to be defending deep in your half.”
Seattle will continue its three-game homestand at 7 p.m. Saturday against the Philadelphia Union.