Yes, there really was a game on Saturday. History likely won't remember much about it other than it being the day a certain Designated Player was introduced, but this is probably a good time to point at that the Seattle Sounders played very well. The Sounders' 3-0 win over FC Dallas was every bit as clean and dominant as the scoreline suggested.
Riding a wave of energy provided by Clint Dempsey's unveiling, the Sounders pressured Dallas early and opened the scoring on Obafemi Martins ridiculous blind header off a perfect Mauro Rosales free kick. Eddie Johnson essentially put the game away with a well executed finish from some quality Brad Evans service and Evans finished it off with a stoppage time penalty.
The lead never really seemed to be challenged, either. Marcus Hahnemann didn't have to make a single save in his first MLS appearance in more than 14 years as the Sounders defense made easy work of a Dallas attack that has now gone scoreless in their last five league matches.
This was probably the first time that we've seen the Martins-Johnson forward pairing really work and it was definitely the most effective we've seen Lamar Neagle on the wing. It was a scary display, especially when you consider that the Sounders will be adding Dempsey. This could be just the beginning.
SEA - Obafemi Martins (Mauro Rosales) 8'
SEA - Eddie Johnson (Brad Evans) 22'
SEA - Brad Evans (penalty) 90+4
Seattle Sounders FC - Marcus Hahnemann, DeAndre Yedlin, Patrick Ianni, Djimi Traore, Leo Gonzalez, Mauro Rosales (Marc Burch 77), Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Lamar Neagle, Obafemi Martins (Servando Carrasco 86), Eddie Johnson (Zach Scott 90+2).
Substitutes Not Used: Andrew Weber, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Andy Rose, Eriq Zavaleta.
TOTAL SHOTS: 11 (Martins 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (Evans 2); FOULS: 17 (Alonso, Johnson 3); OFFSIDE: 2 (Johnson 2); CORNER KICKS: 3 (Rosales 3); SAVES: 0.
FC Dallas - Raul Fernandez, Jair Benitez, George John, Matt Hedges, Zach Lloyd (Kellyn Acosta 69), Je-Vaughn Watson (Mauro Diaz 46), Andrew Jacobson, Jackson (Kenny Cooper 81), David Ferreira, Fabian Castillo, Blas Perez.
Substitutes Not Used: Chris Seitz, Michel, Stephen Keel, Ramon Nunez.
TOTAL SHOTS: 8 (Diaz, Jacobson 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 0; FOULS: 19 (Perez 6); OFFSIDE: 4 (Castillo 2); CORNER KICKS: 2 (Ferreira 2); SAVES: 1 (Fernandez 1).
SEA - Djimi Troare (caution) 54'
DAL - Blas Perez (caution) 65'
SEA - Osvaldo Alonso (caution) 69'
DAL - George John (caution) 83'
Referee: Edvin Jurisevic
Referee's Assistants: Anthony R. Vasoli, Eric Boria
4th Official: Juan Guzman
Time of Game: 1:54
Weather: Cloudy and 70 degrees
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial
* Sounders FC set the club record at nine games (6-0-3) unbeaten at home, which is one game from matching the high in MLS this season. The previous record was eight games set from April 25-July 25, 2009.
* Seattle extended its unbeaten streak when scoring first to 41 games (33-0-8), the second-longest streak in league history (New York - 58 games).
* Seattle extended its unbeaten streak against FC Dallas to six games (5-0-1), bringing the all-time series record to 6-1-4.
* Marcus Hahnemann made his first MLS appearance for Sounders FC. Hahnemann now holds the record for longest lapse in MLS appearances at 14 years, 1 month and 8 days. The previous record was Carlos Bocanegra (9 years, 8 months and 29 days).
* Obafemi Martins scored his team-high seventh league goal, ranking seventh in MLS. He has one goal and two assist in the last two games. Martins has scored four game-winning goals and two game-winning assists this season.
* Eddie Johnson scored his fifth league goal, matching Lamar Neagle for the second-most goals on Sounders FC. It marked Johnson's third goal against FC Dallas in two games this season, and the 60th of his career, becoming the eighth active player to score 60 or more goals in MLS.
* Mauro Rosales recorded his team-high fifth assist of the season. Rosales has recorded one assist in each of the past two games.
* Brad Evans scored his third goal and recorded his fourth assist of the season (ranking second on the team). Evans now has two goals and one assist in the past two games. Evans now has 21 goals and 20 assists in his MLS career.
Joe Roth - Sounders FC Majority Owner
"I understand you're in town to check out our team and some of the other teams. And a guy who's 30 years old, best American player we've ever produced. Have you made up your mind?"
Clint Dempsey - Sounders FC Midfielder
"Seattle, I just want to thank you all and the Seattle Sounders organization for making me feel so welcome and at home. I look forward to getting on the field and playing in front of some of the best fans in the world. I think we'll accomplish some great things here. So once again, thank you."
Halftime Television Interview with KING 5:
Clint Dempsey - Sounders FC Midfielder
(On why Seattle...) "Going into the season, I thought that it was going to be at Tottenham. MLS and the Seattle Sounders [FC]... they wanted to get me here. I am excited to be back in America. I love being here. This is a really big opportunity; to get the chance to be a professional. Having to come back in my prime and be able to make a difference and you know, come back when I was passed it."
(On his impact on the Sounders FC...) "That's the type of situation that you want to come in and get straight to scoring goals. Hopefully it will be a smooth transition and I'm excited about coming up here. The atmosphere of the game here is incredible. I'd be here to hang out with you and Marcus."
(On Yedlin's twitter post...) "It's a hostage situation. I'll talk with him and I'm sure that there will be some type of compensation and we'll work it out."
Sigi Schmid - Sounders FC Head Coach
(On the game...) "Obviously happy with the score line, happy that we got a shutout. I thought we played very well in the first half, got on top of the game with two-nothing lead. The last time we did that they came back and equalized the game, so we wanted to make sure we didn't let them back into the game. Second half-the tempo slowed down a little bit, but even then I thought we had some good opportunities to score some goals, and then the penalty at the end was just icing on the cake."
(On having a number of dangerous players...) "Having good players is always a good problem to have. Adding a player like Clint [Dempsey] is going to be very important for our team. Our team tonight went out there and showed that we could play. Tonight I think we set a record for games undefeated at home-consecutive games undefeated at home. That's something that has really helped us-our home form so far. Being able to score from different places on the field, getting Oba [Martins] on the sore line, getting Eddie [Johnson], and Lamar [Neagle] getting taken down for that PK. We've got to continue to be dangerous from numerous sources."
(On signing Clint Dempsey...) "We're going to talk a lot about Clint tomorrow. Today, he came in before the game and we introduced him to the guys and he met the guys on the team before the game. I wanted them to know before everybody else knew, so it was good. I think everybody realizes that we have the potential to get to the playoffs-that's where we need to get to, we need to get to the playoffs to put ourselves in a good position and then make noise. Last year, the two fifth-place teams ended up playing for MLS Cup. We are, technically right now point-wise, we're not in the playoff picture. When you look at points per game, we're pretty close, we just have to make sure we get into the playoffs."
(On the combination of Martins, Johnson, and Neagle...) "I thought tonight was their best game together as a group of three, for sure. Especially against a team like Dallas, which plays really a five-man midfield when you look at it, and one up top, so you're always short somebody there. Ozzie [Alonso] and [Brad] Evans did a good job of taking care of the more attacking guys and there were times where Oba took turns, Neagle and Eddie sometimes took turns dealing with the guy who went deep. From a defensive standpoint they did a good job and offensively, I thought they were all on the ball. They all played roles in the attack, they found each other, they combined with each other."
(On Marcus Hahnemann...) "It was a great night for Marcus. I'm glad he was healthy enough to be able to come back. We talked before the game and he says, 'Well, I'm about 95-percent.' When we were talking to our trainer he was saying, 'If I had to be 100-percent I wouldn't have played many games in my career, so 95-percent is really, really good.' And it's a really big hamstring, so it took a while for us to get that hamstring back into shape. He felt good. He went out this morning and ran a little bit, went for a jog, walked his dog to make sure he was ready to go. I think Marcus' presence and his experience certainly helped us today. It's one of the reasons we brought him here and I'm really thrilled for him to be able to get out on the field in a league game, and MLS game in front of his home crowd in his home city. There's no better feeling. It probably gave him goose bumps."
(On Hahnemann's record for longest streak between MLS appearances...) "I don't think that record will ever be broken. 14 years between MLS starts-that might be one he might have for the ages."
(On the status of Michael Gspurning and when Dempsey will start to play with the team...) "We'll see with Gspurning. I think it's more with him a day-to-day thing, how he does each day. I think Clint will start training with us next week. He's done part of preseason already with Tottenham, so he's a pretty fit guy."
(On going on the road next week...) "We've always been a good road team. So far this year our record on the road hasn't quite been up to our standards, and one of the things we talked about before the season was getting more points at home and getting the same amount of points on the road. Our objective is still to get to the same amount of points on the road as we had last year, so that means going right into Toronto with a win. We're not going into the Toronto game hoping that we can scrape by with a tie, we want to get on the field there and win the game."
(On the team bouncing back...) "I never thought we were sinking. I'm an optimist so for me when you look at our record and compare it to other years, it's comparable. But sometimes just the way wins and losses fall into place, the way the schedule fell into place this year, us having less games than other teams, when you look at the standings we're in a place that we're not used to being in the standings near the bottom, which isn't always a reflection of points per game, it's a reflection of points. Having played less games made it difficult for us. I think the guys never gave up belief in there, but certainly there were things we needed to do better. And guys stepped up their game. Look at Mauro Rosales-I think over the last two-three games he's certainly stepped up his game. And it shows-not just with the assist on the free kick, but just other plays in the game. His quickness and his sharpness that wasn't there maybe two months ago. Everybody I think has stepped up their game."
(On if the team is improving...) "I think we're rising. We weren't sinking, we were staying afloat. I don't think we were exactly motoring across the river or whatever, but we're definitely starting to rise and starting to find our comfort with each other. Evans and Alonso in the middle look like they understand each other and are comfortable there, so that's helping our game also. As I said, the more games Eddie and Oba and Neagle can get together, that makes them a little more understanding of each other."
(On the crowd...) "I didn't see the introduction so I didn't hear the crowd, but I imagine it went crazy. I heard his 'scarves up' which was great. Our fans our great, that's number one. But our fans are also knowledgeable and they ooh and ah at the right time. They pay attention to the game. They're watching the game. They know what's going in the game. That's what I tell all my friends when they come up here to watch games. It's not a crowd that's there to be seen, it's a crowd that's part of the game. I think they know who Clint Dempsey is, I think they know what he can provide for our team, and I'm sure the acknowledgement that they gave him was reflection of that."
(On getting a win tonight...) "The main thing tonight was us winning. Us winning and getting a shutout, us scoring three goals, winning the season series with Dallas-we still have to go down there and play-and continue to climb up the ladder of the standings and continue to improve on our points per game. That's the story tonight."
(On the play of Patrick Ianni...) "It's been good-we've only allowed one goal in the last two games. As I said, one of the reasons was we felt he was a little more comfortable with the ball. I think that's helped us, although a couple times in the second half it almost hurt us. That's normal. You find your rhythm and find the right decisions that you can make, but I think he's done well so far."
Marcus Hahnemann - Sounders FC Goalkeeper
(On what is was like being back out on the field playing with the Sounders...) "Well I got a tweet last night saying something about a 14 year something, and I sent one back saying, 'When was the last Sounders league appearance' and it was 16 years. You know it's an incredible time, my career has been unbelievable, I've been so blessed and you know Kasey (Keller) said something like 'You're so unlucky to be injured right now' and I said 'I'm 41, and I'm still playing and I'm able to make it back today. I'm not quite 100 percent, but I was able to have a really good training yesterday and everything went well so we thought that we would go ahead and try it today, and it worked out. We got a clean sheet which was absolutely awesome and I got one more chance to play in front of this crowd. It it's great, I'll take it. You know it was worth the risk today to try and do it."
(On what the quick first goal did for the team...) "Oh yeah, I mean the goal that Obafemi (Martins) scored in the first eight minutes gave us some breathing room and I knew that we were going to pop up again and what a great day."
(On what it was like for he and the defense to keep Dallas off of the scoreboard...) "Well we've got a really good team in front of us. They did such a solid job today and we kept their chances to a minimum which was key. I came out for a couple of crosses, I was only able to get my fingertip on one corner, but it was just enough to keep it going. Sometimes that's all that you have to do, and it's just a great day. Standing here and listening to the crowd afterwards, I'm just soaking it in because it is just incredible."
(On what he thinks Clint Dempsey will add to the team...) "More firepower if we don't already need it which is unbelievable. My phone was going crazy on Thursday with all of the rumors, and I'm all like 'No I don't know anything', but when they didn't say anything the next day we were optimistic, and I had a feeling that it was going to happen. And then when they don't deny it when you come into the training room. And then when Randy Noteboom, our head trainer is gone I was like 'Oh, I have a feeling that they might be taking a look at Clint (Dempsey) today, getting the physical done.' It was just great to see it get done and we can only thank the staff here. It's unbelievable to get a player of that quality who is still 30, and I have a new fishing buddy so I'm excited."
Eddie Johnson - Sounders FC Forward
(On the game tonight...) "It was good. For me it was important to come back tonight and gel as quickly as I did with the team. I missed two games with the national team and the team had a tie and a good result so for me I got to start tonight and I'm delighted to help my team get the win."
(On if it was more electrifying out there tonight...) "Yeah for me I'm playing out here with really big emotions. It was hard for me not to tell anybody what was coming. But now the whole world knows. What a great contribution to our team, and added to this league. You know every little kid in America wants to be like Clint (Dempsy). We're happy to have him here in Seattle."
(On if he talked to Clint Dempsey about the atmosphere in Seattle and if that influenced him into coming...) "I think that he felt it during our qualifier here. We played against Panama and he saw how electric and amazing the fans are here in Seattle, and whenever you have an opportunity after staying in the same place for a long time and you want a different challenge in your life and this league is growing, and I think it was a good decision for him and his family to be closer to his family back here in America and I think he'll really like this atmosphere here in Seattle."
(On if he knew his he was going to score when he got the ball...) "For me, I'm just trying to get better and better as a player. I went in with the national team and I had two goals in three games and I tried to take my confidence and momentum back from there and add it here in Seattle. I'm just happy for the team."
(On how quickly it will take for he and Clint Dempsey to click...) "I don't think that it's going to take long at all. I think that Clint (Dempsey) is a very experienced player. He knows this game inside and out, and if you look at his career he's always adapted to his situation, even from when he was a rookie in the MLS he's been going up and up and up and I know that he's going to score many goals here and that he's going to be a fantastic addition to this team."
Brad Evans - Sounders FC Midfielder
(On reaction to Clint Dempsey signing...) "Clint who? (laughs) Oh, Dempsey. It's one of those where you never think it would happen. It's almost like one of those ones where it's almost a joke when you first hear about it. You first hear the rumblings, you hear about people going to Sea-Tac and hanging out and it's cool. It's great for the game, the team; it's great for MLS and obviously looking forward to playing with him."
(On fans at airport for Dempsey...) "It makes it feel like it's a real thing. It makes you feel like it's proper, it's a real sport you know and that's the passion that you need. It probably wasn't there even five or six years ago. I think before our team came along there wasn't anything like that. People weren't staking out at airports to see their favorite players coming in and that just says a lot to the game and how much its grown. It's a cultural thing too, and now it's becoming that way. For the game to progress it needs to be in the culture of the community and you see that."
(On the game feeling like an extended celebration...) "Yeah absolutely. You always want to put in a good performance when you sign a big name player and know that everybody's putting in the work though. Nobody wants their spot to be taken on the field but I think it was a reward for the fans. They came out early; they wanted to see the big presentation and we got on them early tonight. But in this league it's very difficult to dominated a team for 90 minutes, especially a team like that where they're going to have a good amount of the ball when they play a 4-5-1 or maybe a switch to a 3-5-2 in the second half a little bit so they're going to have bouts with the ball but the icing on the cake with the goal at the end kind of completed the night."
Obafemi Martins - Sounders FC Forward
(On getting the early goal...) "We just scored; we had the chance and we scored which is good for us. I think the early goal is very important that was scored today and we kept going in the first half and Eddie scored a good goal as well so we played well."
(On the defense...) "I think we held the defense very well today and we deserved to win. We really tried our best not to let in a goal, which we didn't. It was a good job."
(On feeling in the locker room before a home game...) "I think we just play our normal game. We don't want to think too much about how we never lose at home. We just keep going and all of a sudden we won today again which is a great three points for us. We'll continue to win and it's not only home games; we need away games to get points as well."
(On Adjustment with Dempsey...) "Dempsey's a good player so he's going to be good for me and Eddie [Johnson] and Lamar [Neagle] as well and the other players because we need good players on the team. He's welcome and I hope he's going to do well here."
Schellas Hyndman - FC Dallas Head Coach
(On moving forward...) "The comment was, 'Just let this one go. We'll try to refocus on the next one.'"
(On his team's scoring dry spell...) "I just don't think we're playing - I don't think we're in good form. I don't think we created enough opportunities. It seems like we're very content with keeping the ball but not really going anywhere. So when you look at the chances we had, I think [Mauro] Diaz had a nice move at the top of the box, or in the box, and just put it a little bit wide, but it was probably our only really good chance."
(On whether the pregame announcement affected the game...) "I don't think that really mattered. I thought the pregame announcement I thought might be a more of a distraction for the players. But again, you look at the first half and the two goals we gave up, and they're both stoppable goals. I thought we played much better in the second half"
(On warming up his bench players after the Sounders' second goal...) "I don't think that had any message at all. It was just that we try to warm them up throughout the game so they're not sitting the whole time."
(On Blas Perez...) "It's a tough place to play as you all know. For our players who aren't used to playing on an artificial surface, the balls are just skidding a little bit away from us, so give a lot of credit to Seattle for giving us a struggle in the first half. I wish we would have come out and played a little bit better."
(On whether FC Dallas' scoreless streak is compounding the team's performance...) "Sure it does. I don't think the players have really got the whole grasp of it, but for the coaches, we're very frustrated. We were just talking about that before y'all walked in. We need to maybe get away a little bit from some of the things we've been doing in training and put more into our attacking patterns."
(On whether he was surprised his team gave up early goals...) "Yeah, it was one of the three points we brought up and that was, 'Don't give up an early goal,' because we felt that the crowd obviously was going to put us under pressure and the last thing we wanted to do was give up an early goal so that we had to be chasing the game. And we did."
Je-Vaughn Watson - FC Dallas Midfielder
(On the outcome of the game...) "It was hard to come out to Seattle with the fans and everything around. We think that giving up two early goals cost us the game because we were playing well. The first goal, the guy was free in the box and just actually went out there and scored. Just got us on the contact is all."
(On a potential missed assignment...) "It was the sneak-throughs. Everybody was fighting in the yard. You have to give the guys credit. Then we came out in the second half and we knew what we had to do. But we were unfortunate to fall."
(On deciding which player takes on another...) "We had that. A guy just missed his mark. We played the ball and they scored right after that. We tried to get back but they caught us in the contact."
(On not giving out early goals...) "Yeah. We are going to lose games. We went to the game to initiate. But at times, things did not go according to plan. We gave up a goal to fight back. So that cost us the second goal. We came to the locker room and the coach said that, 'We need to go out and play very well.' Then we gave up a penalty in the last round."
(On playing Los Angeles...) "That's the one game that we have to get maximum points because that's one of the season games and we have to make it to the playoffs. So we just have to make a push towards that."
(On the loss of today's game...) "They were a real tough opponent and everybody goes in to this game and all. So you have to fight from the first minute to the last minute of the game. If you score and they don't, then you win games. Tonight, we didn't score. This was a good game."