It was a day for the footnote-minded at CenturyLink Field Saturday. Clint Dempsey scored his 50th goal as a Seattle Sounder as the club beat Sporting Kansas City for the first time in the regular season since 2014, 1-0. The shutout means that Seattle (10-7-7, 37 points) has not allowed a goal in 400 minutes of league play, eclipsing the record of 379 minutes.
The win extended Seattle’s unbeaten run to eight games and moved them into a tie for first place in the Western Conference.
Head coach Brian Schmetzer gave credit to his team for the historic streak.
“When we made that announcement in the locker room, the first thing (goalkeeper) Stefan Frei did was start pointing and saying, ‘It’s you guys, it’s you guys,’” Schmetzer said. “When you talk about scoreless streaks, it goes to the goalkeeper, but the team front to back defended well, including Clint in front of Stef. I think the overall team performance in all of the statistical categories is something that that team really believes in.”
Credit also belongs to a roster that has overcome injury troubles to allow for a consistent starting eleven, particularly a starting back four of Joevin Jones, Roman Torres, Chad Marshall, and recent signee Kelvin Leerdam, who has played all but four minutes of the record-breaking streak.
The Sounders scored in the 36th minute, when Jordan Morris drifted across the field and picked up the ball in the right alley. As he raced toward the end line, he swung in a cross with his dominant right foot that looped over the head of Will Bruin and straight to Dempsey, who headed the ball back across goal past a diving Tim Melia.
The goal was Dempsey’s fifth in his last six games. The midfielder said the string of positive results was the outcome borne of a confident team.
“That’s what happens when you get on a streak like we’re on,” Dempsey said. “There are defining moments when a team has to dig deep and find a lot of character. The moments that stand out for me were being three-nothing down against New England and coming back . . . and being down versus D.C. United and coming back.
“Things are going really well. We have a lot of depth in this team, we’re able to have a lot of competition for spots, we’re able to have a consistent lineup but we’ve had guys who stepped up when they get called, and I think there’s still another level to get to.”
Seattle dominated the match against a Kansas City team that was forced to play 120 minutes in a U.S. Open Cup semifinal on Wednesday. The Sounders finished with a 15-8 advantage in shots.
More records loom to be broken. Dempsey is 10 shy of Fredy Montero’s all-time record of 60 goals across all competitions. Seattle is one win or draw away from matching the club’s unbeaten streak of nine games, May 28 to July 16 in 2011.
With 10 games to play in the regular season, the Sounders have plenty of reasons to be confident and plenty of time to break more records as they push for a high seed in the Western Conference playoffs.