SEATTLE – Sounders FC fans had plenty of reason to go home happy on Saturday night.
39,360 fans packed CenturyLink Field and were rewarded first by the club’s announcement that it had signed U.S. National Team captain Clint Dempsey as its third Designated Player, then it raced out to a 3-0 victory to extend its home unbeaten streak to nine straight matches.
Obafemi Martins, Eddie Johnson and Brad Evans all scored while goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann made his first MLS start in over 14 years, making his return with the same result, a shutout victory, as he did when he played his final match with the Colorado Rapids in 1999.
“I thought we played very well in the first half, got on top of the game with two-nothing lead. The last time we did that they came back and equalized the game, so we wanted to make sure we didn’t let them back into the game,” Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid said. “Second half—the tempo slowed down a little bit, but even then I thought we had some good opportunities to score some goals, and then the penalty at the end was just icing on the cake.”
Dempsey was unveiled as the newest Sounders FC sensation in a pre-match presentation, bringing the sellout crowd to a roar. Seattle made sure that momentum carried over into the match, as it took a 1-0 lead in the eighth minute.
After winning a free kick 40 yards out on the left side, Mauro Rosales sent an arcing ball into the box and Martins got on the other end of it, heading it past Raul Fernandez for his team-leading seventh goal of the season. It was the fifth assist of the year for Rosales, also a team-high.
They weren’t done there, though.
In the 22nd minute, Evans sprayed a ball from the midfield, perfectly placing it behind the Dallas defense for Johnson. He settled it on the outside of his right foot just as he got into the box, then blasted a shot with that same right foot for his fifth goal of the season to make it 2-0.
“It was good. For me it was important to come back tonight and gel as quickly as I did with the team,” said Johnson, who missed the last two matches while winning the CONCACAF Gold Cup with the U.S. National Team. “I got to start tonight and I’m delighted to help my team get the win.”
Seattle limited Dallas to just eight shots, but none of them forced Hahnemann into a save as the Seattle goalkeeper earned the shutout in his first start of the 2013 season.
In the final moments of stoppage time, Lamar Neagle was fouled in the box for a penalty. Evans converted for his third goal of the season, completing the scoring in Seattle’s 3-0 victory.
“In this league, it’s very difficult to dominate a team for 90 minutes. Especially a team like that where they’re going to have a good amount of the ball, but the icing on the cake with the goal at the end kind of completed the night,” Evans said. “I think this was the most complete game in a couple of weeks.”
The win lifts Sounders FC to 9-7-4 and extends its home unbeaten streak to a club-record nine straight matches.
It will look to bring that success on the road for two straight matches against Eastern Conference foes when it faces Toronto FC on August 10 at BMO Field and the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium on August 17.
Sounders FC – Obafemi Martins (Mauro Rosales) 8; Eddie Johnson (Brad Evans) 22; Brad Evans (PK) 94+.
FC Dallas – None.
Sounders FC – Djimi Traore (caution) 54; Osvaldo Alonso (caution) 69; Eddie Johnson (caution) 92+.
FC Dallas – Blas Perez (caution) 65; George John (caution) 84.
Sounders FC – Marcus Hahnemann, DeAndre Yedlin, Patrick Ianni, Djimi Traore, Leo Gonzalez, Mauro Rosales (Marc Burch 77), Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Lamar Neagle, Obafemi Martins (Servando Carrasco 86), Eddie Johnson (Zach Scott 92+).
FC Dallas – Raul Fernandez, Zach Loyd (Kellyn Acosta 73), George John, Matt Hedges, Jair Benitez, Jackson (Kenny Cooper 81), Andrew Jacobson, Je-Vaughn Watson (Mauro Diaz 46), David Ferreira, Fabian Castillo, Blas Perez.