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If nothing else, the matchup between the Seattle Sounders and TFC gave us all a good idea who very well might win the Golden Boot this season: Jermain Defoe.
Behind his brace, TFC withstood an excellent second-half recovery by the Sounders to secure a 2-1 victory at Century Link Field.
For Sounders fans, and Clint Dempsey, a short stretch in first half became a rage-inducing migraine, as some questionable replacement officiating and a couple mental lapses left the Sounders down two goals.
Seventeen minutes in, midfielder Jonathan Osorio gave Defoe a perfectly weighted through-ball that caught Djimi Traore and DeAndre Yedlin … doing something. Not watching Defoe, that’s for sure, as he easily slid between them and scored his first MLS goal.
His second came 7 minutes later on an assist from – ugh – Marco Pappa, who attempted a lazy back-pass that was easily intercepted. All Defoe had to do was drive it home, which he did.
Yeah, Defoe is going to score a ton of goals. That is almost certain. But tonight he was the beneficiary of two perfect passes. A DP from Tottenham should put those away.
Whatever Sigi Schmid yelled at his Sounders in the locker room at halftime was fairly effective, as the team came out and – well, “dominated” is a strong word, given the loss, but they certainly outplayed TFC for most of the 45 minutes.
It was enough for Clint Dempsey to score his first goal of the season, on a nifty little pass from Obafemi Martins in the 68th minute.
Earlier, Martins had a rocket of a shot that would have been a goal were it not for a miraculous deflection. Martins and Dempsey were a solid pair all afternoon – it’s OK for anyone panicking about Oba’s lack of touches against SKC or Dempsey’s lack of form last season or during his loan at Fulham to back off the ledge a bit.
Here’s a game recap feature I’ll call …
The List of Notable Things:
Thing No. 1: The ref lockout cannot end soon enough. Yeah, the official in the SKC match was actually good, but tonight’s ref was a smoldering tire fire.
Dempsey was nearly ready to flat-out murder someone after getting mauled on numerous occasions. He was at DEFCON 2 for most of the first half.
And Lamar Neagle probably deserved a PK after being yanked down in the box. No call? Oh, there was a call. On Neagle. Oops!
Thing No. 2: Dempsey is still Dempsey. He’s gonna be fine, doubters. He was active in the attack all afternoon, when he wasn’t contemplating strangling various TFC players. He got goal No. 1. There will be plenty more.
Thing No. 3: Marco Pappa had a horrible day. You ever go into the office after a long night of drinking and make a bunch of dimwitted decisions you wouldn’t normally make? That was Pappa today. Bad passes. Crazy shots. Probably should have been subbed off at half. Sleep it off, Marco.
Thing No. 4: Chad Marshall’s skull might be the MVP of the back line. That guy is tall and wins every single header.
Thing No. 5: Djimi Traore is another year older, and another year slower. How long until Jalil Anibaba takes his job?
Thing No. 6: DeAndre Yedlin is fast and good. Super good. I look forward to watching him at right back for the next 12 years, assuming the Sounders can afford to keep him around.
Thing No. 7: Lamar Neagle is not off to a good start. Not terrible or anything, but the Neagle-Oba magic of last season has not made an appearance.
Thing No. 8: Hopefully Brad Evans’ leg injury isn’t too serious. He played another 10 minutes after taking a knock, but it was clear he needed to come out, and he did, replaced by newly signed Mexican international Gonzalo Pineda, who was adequate if not spectacular.
Thing No. 9: The Sounders will be a creative, attacking, fun-to-watch team from here on out. Did they outplay TFC? Kinda, except for that short stretch in the first half. If this is as bad as it gets, it’s gonna be an excellent season.
Up next: The Sounders travel to Montreal to face the Impact on March 22, their first road trip of the season.
(image courtesy of soundersfc.com)