Clint Dempsey scored his first hat trick in more than two years Sunday to lead the Seattle Sounders to a 3-1 road triumph over Orlando City FC at Camping World Stadium.
The Sounders fell behind early off a tally from Orlando’s Seb Hines that put the hosts up 1-0. But Dempsey would find the net three times after that, the last one a 48th-minute tally that would cap off the result.
The win was the first under interim head coach Brian Schmetzer and the first in four games overall for the Sounders, and it also snapped Orlando’s 17-game unbeaten streak at home dating back to last season.
Sunday’s match got off to an inauspicious start for Seattle, as Orlando City grabbed the lead in just the 7th minute after midfielder Kaka whipped a corner kick into the Seattle area that found Hines, who snapped his header past Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei, staking the Lions to the early advantage.
The Sounders then found the go-ahead goal in the 37th minute after rookie forward Jordan Morris beat an offside trap and laid off a feed to Dempsey for an easy point-blank finish, giving Dempsey the first-half brace and the Sounders a 2-1 lead at the break.
Dempsey completed the hat trick just after second half kickoff off a nearly identical sequence. Midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro, playing in his second game with the club after signing as a Designated Player on July 27, sent a through ball in to a streaking Morris, who found Dempsey for another easy finish to push the lead to 3-1.
Dempsey’s last hat trick came against the Portland Timbers on Apr. 5, 2014. He now has six goals on the season.
Orlando City very nearly made it 3-2 in the 71st minute after a header from Matias Perez Garcia deflected off the cross bar and landed directly in front of Hines for a look at the rebound goal. But Hines’ headed attempt was right into Frei, allowing the Sounders to avert the threat.
The victory moved the Sounders to 7-12-3 on the season and gave them a badly needed three points as they return home for a home clash with Real Salt Lake at CenturyLink Field on Aug. 14. The matchup with RSL will be the first of two upcoming home matchups for Seattle, with a Cascadia Cup clash with the Portland Timbers following on Aug. 21.