Dempsey scores in first game back from Brazil; Seattle wins
SEATTLE – Clint Dempsey scored for Seattle off a wild scramble in the 71st minute in his return to Major League Soccer following the World Cup, and the Sounders beat rival Portland 2-0 on Sunday night, their second victory over the Timers in four days.
Dempsey and Obafemi Martins were both denied by Portland goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts earlier in the sequence with sprawling kick saves. The ball eventually landed at the feet of Gonzalo Pineda and his diagonal pass found Dempsey open in front of the net for his first goal with Seattle since April 26 against Colorado.
Seattle defeated Portland 3-1 in extra time in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup earlier this week and moved 10 points clear of second-place Real Salt Lake in the MLS Western Conference with the victory.
Marco Pappa added his second goal of the season in the 86th minute on a counter attack moments after Portland’s Gaston Fernandez hit the outside of the goalpost with his attempt. It was Pappa’s second goal this week against the Timbers after scoring the final tally in the U.S. Open Cup victory.
Dempsey’s return after two months away for World Cup duty came before a crowd of 64,207, just shy of a sellout at CenturyLink Field. It was the only visit to Seattle this season by the Timbers.
While there lacked the fireworks of the 4-4 draw the sides played in Portland in early April, there was plenty of chances in the final 45 minutes and most of them coming at Seattle’s offensive end.
Ricketts was tested repeatedly, including the second minute of the second half on a shot by Pineda. He smothered multiple shot attempts by Lamar Neagle and denied Dempsey off a quick throw-in in the 55th minute when the United States captain tried to sneak a right-footed shot past Ricketts.
Portland is winless in its last four matches.
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