While a game does not make a season, a string of positive game by game results can change a season. For Seattle Sounders FC (9 7-12-3, 24 points), the hope is that Sundays Clint Dempsey led 3-1 win over Orlando City ( 5-6-11, 26 point) is the beginning of the blue print to turning its season around with a late season playoff run.
After parting ways with the franchises only coach, interim coach Brian Schmetzer was given the keys to the car with the mission to jump start a team that had been underperforming in scoring and playing good fundamental soccer from the backline to the front line. Schmetzer’s first test drive was last weeks disappointing 1-1 home draw to the LA Galaxy . The game was disappointing for the Rave Green because they dominated play , gave up a late goal and had to settle for the one point.
During the teams practice sessions this week, Schmetzer stressed a team effort in which all players played both offense and defense and more creative play in the middle of the field.
During Sunday’s match against Orlando, the creative play of newly signed Designated Player Nicolas Lodeiro, Christian Roldan and Osvaldo Alonso was instrumental in Clint Dempsey netting his second career hat-trick.
After giving up a seventh minute goal to Seb Hines on a corner kick, Seattle regrouped and showed great team spirit by wining the midfield possession battle due Lodeiro’s ability to hold on to the ball once the Sounders stripped it from Orlando City.
With Seattle holding on to the ball, Orlando committed defenders in the middle of the field and that left the flanks open which Seattle exploited by sending full back fullbacks Tyrone Mears and Joevin Jones on runs to the open spaces.
The strategy to spread the Orlando City defense paid dividend in the 14th minute when Lodeiro hit an onrushing Mears who then squared a cross for Dempsey’s first of three goals.
“He’s a quality player. It helps in the attacking third being able to keep possession, being able to find people that are running up the ball you can see that when he found Tyrone [Mears] on the first goal with the great ball in,” Dempsey said after the game.
“Also Christian [Roldan] with the great ball over the top to Jordan [Morris] who played awesome tonight. Thought he could have had five assists tonight. Was really unselfish and caused them a lot of problems but like I said I thought it was a great overall performance from the team and we’re happy to have Lodeiro to bring that little more of that bite.”
Seattle continued its dominance in the middle of the field and the result was a Cristina Roldan through ball to Jordan Morris who once again found an open Dempsey for his second goal of the game just before halftime to give the visitors the 2-1 lead.
The Dempsey hat-trick was completed three minutes into the second half when Lodeiro slid a slide rule pass to Morris who once again set up Dempsey for a tap in and the 3-1 lead.
For Seattle Sounder Captain Brad Evans, the win was a confidence booster that must be followed up with more positive results.
“We’ve got to put our head down and work, number one. We’re still second from bottom so no one is cheering. The ship hasn’t been righted just yet, we have to keep climbing and working. But like I said we can get two results with a midweek game we can start climbing the ladder. We get this group back tomorrow morning and back at training on Tuesday.
This is a group that wants to be out there right now and get better and learn the system and everything that comes with a new coach. They want to be together right now so that’s massive for us.”
Morris and Lodeiro each recorded two assists during the game while Dempsey’s three goals gives him six goal for the year. Morris still leads the team with seven goals.
Sunday win was Seattle’s second road win of the season and snapped Orlando City’s 17-match home unbeaten streak.