FRISCO, Texas – Clint Dempsey struck for two goals, one a spectacular free kick and the other a late winner, as the Seattle Sounders rallied for a 3-2 win over previously unbeaten FC Dallas on Saturday night.
A native of Nacogdoches, Texas, whose family once made the three-hour drive for Dempsey's youth practices and did so again to see him in action on Saturday, Dempsey now has five goals in his last two games.
His most recent goal was the most important, the game-winner in the 85th minute off a give-and-go with Chad Barrett, set up by a textbook entry pass from Marco Pappa and hold-up touch from Obafemi Martins at the top of the penalty area. Dempsey then fed Barrett on the right and broke into the box to one-time the return pass into the top of the net.
The late goal stunned a crowd of 17,070 at Toyota Stadium, most of whom came to see FC Dallas (4-1-1) try to continue its winning start to the season. They got off to a good start, too, as David Texeira – starting for the second straight game in place of Blas Pérez, who did not make the 18-man roster – scored his first MLS goal in the 10th minute on a miscue by Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei. A deflected pass, a high bounce and some wind flustered Frei, who saw the ball go off his fingertips and land for Texeira to tap into an empty net.
The Sounders (3-2-1) rebounded quickly, as Dempsey stepped up to a 35-yard free kick and bent it over the wall, off the underside of the crossbar and just over the goal line. The ball then spun back into play, and Martins headed in the rebound to make sure Seattle tied the game, but Dempsey was deservedly credited with the goal.
With Mauro Díaz pulling the strings, Dallas earned countless set-piece opportunities in the first half, and one led to the second goal. Chasing a loose ball that Matt Hedges kept alive, Texeira was fouled in the penalty area by DeAndre Yedlin in the 40th minute, and Michel converted the penalty kick for his third goal of the season, giving Dallas a 2-1 lead at halftime.
After posting an 11-2 shot advantage in the first half, however, Dallas could not continue its attacking success in the second half. Dempsey almost struck for a second goal in the 59th minute, turning and rifling a shot from outside the penalty area that caromed off the crossbar and out for a corner kick.
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Seattle finally tied the game in the 75th minute. Pappa – who came on for another local son returning home, Kenny Cooper – was given space on the left to send in a curling ball that was headed only to the far side of the penalty area, from where Dempsey fired a cross that deflected off Stephen Keel and into the net behind helpless Dallas goalkeeper Chris Seitz.
With the score tied 2-2, both teams continued to push forward late. Frei came up with a crucial save in the 82nd minute with the score tied, reaching up to deny a hard-hit Texeira shot, and after Dempsey’s go-ahead goal, the Swiss goalkeeper closed down the angle on Díaz in stoppage time, diving at his feet to block a threatening pass and preserve the lead.
Seattle faces a third consecutive road game next week, traveling to face Chivas USA, while FC Dallas will try to rebound at home against Toronto FC.