Seattle Sounders 1, Montreal Impact 0: Clint Dempsey fuels Sounders to first win

SEATTLE – Clint Dempsey scored his first goal of the MLS season and the Seattle Sounders snapped a suffocating three-game losing streak in a 1-0 win over the visiting Montreal Impact on Saturday night at CenturyLink Field.

Dempsey connected with midfielder Andreas Ivanschitz's corner kick in the 79th minute for the night’s only goal, and his third across all competitions for the Sounders in 2016. Dempsey scored a brace in the team’s opening leg of the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal series against Club America on Feb. 23, but he hadn’t found the net in the past four games for the club until Saturday.

Goalkeeper Stefan Frei made four saves to pick up his first shutout of the year. The win snapped a franchise-record three-game losing streak to open the season for the Sounders.

Dempsey’s goal was eerily similar to the second goal of the team’s matchup against Club America at CenturyLink Field on Feb. 23, when he vaulted over a defender to snap a header down and in from six yards out. This time Dempsey pounced after Impact goalkeeper Evan Bush misplayed the corner from Ivanschitz, and the Sounders forward had a relatively clean look at goal.

The goal punctuated a cathartic week for Dempsey, who also scored the opening goal of the U.S. national team’s 4-0 win over Guatemala in a World Cup qualifying match on Tuesday night.

Genuine scoring chances were few and far between for either team in their only matchup of the season, but the Sounders controlled much of the action early on before the teams settled down in front of 39,705 fans.

The best chance came in the first minute, when Nelson Valdez had his clear look at goal deflect off the heel of Kovar following a nice buildup down the left side between Dempsey and Ivanschitz. Kovar also scorched a left-footed shot over the bar in the 4th minute from just outside the box.

Dempsey nearly threatened to grab the opening goal in the 65th minute, but his free kick from 25 yards out was tipped over by Bush. Second-half substitute Oalex Anderson also whistled a shot beyond the far post in the 93rd minute.

The Sounders started a lineup clearly affected by the FIFA international break, as both defender Joevin Jones and forward Jordan Morris were left out of the mix for the first time this year. Jones suited up for Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday and suffered a minor knee bruise, while Morris was given a rest after playing for the U.S. Under-23 team.

Morris ultimately replaced Kovar in the 57th minute and Jones came on for Dylan Remick in the 74th.

Cristian Roldan started the second straight game in place of injured midfielder Erik Friberg (knee), and center back and captain Brad Evans started for the first time since suffering a shoulder injury late in the team’s season opener on March 6.

The Sounders return to action on the road at the Houston Dynamo on April 10.

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