Clint Dempsey is back, and not a moment too soon.
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With his first USMNT call-up in nine months just days away, the American veteran bagged his second goal of the 2017 season to give Seattle its first win of the campaign, a 3-1 victory over the visiting Red Bulls of New York in the Sounders’ home opener. Fellow national teamer Jordan Morris got the winner in the second half, as the two added to their tallies at the right time.
Sure, Dempsey’s hit came from the penalty spot, but with Bobby Wood injured, US fans will take anything they can get to hope Dempsey can up his role in the absence of the Hamburg frontman.
In the 28th minute, New York goalkeeper Luis Robles came off his line to challenge Jordan Morris on the ball, arriving just a split-second too late, conceding the penalty with a trip and earning a yellow card in the process. Dempsey stepped up and calmly slotted the ball inside the right post past Robles who had guessed right but just couldn’t reach it.
New York briefly had it back level when a stroke of luck went the visitor’s way. Bradley Wright-Phillips headed New York level just before the hour mark. The header appeared to be traveling wide, but a touch off the head of his defender Gustav Svensson guided it into the back of the net – barely – clipping the inside of the post and in for the equalizer. Somehow, Wright-Phillips was given credit for the goal, despite it clearly being initially wide before the deflection took it just enough on the kind side of the post.
Seattle restored its lead nine minutes later as Jordan Morris – also called up by Bruce Arena for Friday’s Hex match – headed in from point-blank range. The move started with Joevin Jones who sent Sal Zizzo to an early grave and cut back to Nicolas Lodeiro, who lofted the ball to Morris at the back post and the finish was there for the taking to put Seattle 2-1 up.
They’d get a deserved third via Harry Shipp – intentionally or not – to put the game away with 11 minutes to go. Jones had a go from long range, and his low shot cannoned off the foot of Shipp and wrong-footed Robles, tucking into the bottom left corner. The goal is Shipp’s first of his Sounders career.
Seattle’s victory ended an 18-game unbeaten streak for New York in MLS regular season action, a streak that dated all the way back to July of last season.