Clint Dempsey

Sounders balanced attack is back in form after netting four goals at Portland

Obafemi Martins

One of the most explosive offenses in MLS rediscovered its mojo on Sunday at Providence Park.

Sounders FC scored four goals to get back into the offensive swing in a 4-2 win over the Portland Timbers, moving back atop the Supporters’ Shield standings and second in the league’s goal-scoring charts.

“It wasn’t just a win. We really put on a show,” said forward Chad Barrett, who came off the bench to score his seventh goal of the season. “The fact that we got our ‘joga’ back a little bit is nice.”

In a league filled with prolific goal scorers, Sounders FC is one of only two teams with two players in double-digit scoring as Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins both scored their 10th goals of the season on Sunday. Only the LA Galaxy’s Robbie Keane (13) and Gyasi Zardes (10) have matched that total.

Add in Barrett’s seven goals and Seattle is again one of only two teams with at least three players at seven goals, joining FC Dallas’ trio of Fabian Castillo (9), Tesho Akindele (7) and Michel (7).

However, that dynamic attack had stalled of late. Dempsey’s first-half goal on Sunday was his first since July 13 while Martins hadn’t scored since June 7.

“It’s really important for Oba. It’s also important for Clint to get on the board. The combinations were good,” Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid said. “We talked about making sure we get wide and the first goal came from a great combination.”

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In addition to that scoring trio, Seattle has also gotten five goals from Lamar Neagle and three goals in league play from Kenny Cooper, Gonzalo Pineda, and Marco Pappa.

Creating diversity in a versatile attack helped Seattle reach the top of the league standings early in the season and helped it regain the top spot, too.

Maintaining consistency will be the key to keeping that spot over the final 10 matches of the season and taking Seattle on a deep playoff run. Getting a result like Sunday’s 4-2 win in a road game against a team vying for a playoff spot was a good test for Seattle at this stage in the season.

“It’s a long season. In big games, you want to step up and play well. I thought we did that today,” Dempsey said. “It’s not just doing it here and there, it’s doing it on a consistent basis. That’s what got us up the table early on in the season and hopefully we can get back to that.”

If Sunday’s match was any indication, Seattle is climbing back into the form that had it pouring in goals at a league-best rate early in the season, as well as Dempsey and Martins finding their partnership again.

“Those are all good things,” Schmid smiled after the win on Sunday. “Strikers love scoring goals.”

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