MINNEAPOLIS – Clint Dempsey said he would buy teammate Chad Marshall dinner after poaching a potential goal from his center back, but it was the Sounders who feasted on Minnesota United FC Saturday. Dempsey scored twice and the Sounders were dominant in the first meeting between the reigning MLS champions and the league’s newest expansion franchise.
The 4-0 victory stretched the unbeaten run by Seattle (9-7-7, 34 points) to seven in a row, good for a tie for third place in the Western Conference with Dallas. Minnesota (6-13-4) is 10th.
Before Dempsey could score, however, he notched in the 10th minute an assist to Will Bruin. He sent the striker a short pass in the middle of the penalty area where Bruin turned it into a slow roller, beating keeper Bobby Shuttleworth as it trickled to the back post.
Dempsey converted his first goal eight minutes later, redirecting a Marshall header after a quickly taken corner kick.
Dempsey joked about having taken Marshall’s goal from him.
“(It was) pretty much Chad’s goal, I owe him some dinner,” he said, smiling. “There was a defender coming, so you don’t know if he had a chance to maybe clear it, but it looked like it was going in. I probably need to get him a nice meal.
“Wherever he wants to go. That’s up to him. I’ve got to make sure he’s happy.”
In the 71st minute and for the first time since April, Jordan Morris scored, slipping a ball through Shuttleworth’s legs after sprinting onto a through ball from Nicolas Lodeiro.
Dempsey provided the final touch one minute later, picking up a short lateral pass from left back Joevin Jones and cutting back and forth in the penalty area to create an open shooting lane before rolling a shot on the ground into the net.
The Loons provided a few frightening moments, sending long balls forward to Abu Danladi, whom the club selected with the No. 1 pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft. Danladi broke free several times, forcing four saves from Stefan Frei, but the keeper preserved the shutout.
Despite the feast (and impending meal for Marshall), Dempsey said the Sounders were still hungry.
“I think we are on a good run,” he said. “You want to keep building, keep working hard to sharpen up to be better. But things are looking good. We are where we want to be in terms of putting ourselves in a position to make playoffs.”