Tag Archives: Clint Dempsey

Seattle Sounders 1-0 Portland Timbers

Seattle Sounders starting XI: Gspurning; Gonzalez, Yedlin, Scott, Hurtado; Evans, Alonso, Joseph (Rosales 56′), Neagle (Traore 90′); Dempsey, Johnson (Carrasco 90′)
Subs: Hanhemann, Ianni, Burch, Traore, Zavaleta, Carrasco, Rosales

Portland Timbers starting XI: Ricketts; Harrington, Powell (Zizzo 81′), Jean-Baptiste, Kah; Nagbe, Valeri, Alhassan, Jewsbury (Zemanski 86′), Wallace; Johnson (Valencia 61′)
Subs: Kocic, Evans, McKenzie, Miller, Zizzo, Zemanski, Valencia

This latest installment of the Cascadia cup was a little bigger than the previous ones as new Seattle Sounder designated player Clint Dempsey made his home debut after making two appearances on the road in Toronto and in Dallas. But this match up had a bigger picture in line as the Portland Timbers were ahead of their rivals in the Western Conference standings for the first time ever this late into the season.

The match kicked off in front of over 67,000 fans, which was one of the highest attendances in the world this weekend, and the second largest attendance in Major League Soccer history. It started with a blistering pace as both clubs were going back and forth in what was a pretty open field, surprisingly, as the Timbers are usually pretty sound defensively. Kah was throwing his weight around all night and it started early in the 7th minute as he caught American international Clint Dempsey. Valeri was probably the best player in the first half as he was constantly threading passes to Nagbe, Johnson, and the lot, but the Portland Timbers could not produce the final movement that they so desperately needed.

Both goalkeepers came up huge multiple times throughout the match. Sharlie Joseph had two free headers in the opening twenty minutes but he did not produce the angle required and Ricketts saved both of them easily. The Argentine midfielder, Diego Valeri, released Will Johnson and was clean through, but Gspurning came off of his line quickly to collect the ball off of the feet of Ryan Johnson. The Austrian goalkeeper had little to do in the second half as the Seattle Sounders controlled the tempo of the match and were really in control for the final hour, but especially after the hour mark.

It was a very physical encounter as both teams were really going after one another, and the ref was letting them, despite some dangerous tackles. One of the key players in this was Kah who had plenty of rough challenges and one very dangerous tackle on Eddie Johnson late in the match in which he should have been shown a red card for persistent fouling, but instead was only shown a yellow. The league though should definitely look into some of the challenges Kah had throughout the match and really discipline him like he should have been during the match by the referee, as Alonso should be for his multiple fouls on Nagbe.

Seattle started the second half very narrow and could not break down the defense of Portland, but when Rosales came on around the 60 minute mark, he created a more offensive spark and really changed the whole outcome of the game. He came on for Joseph, who did not have the best of match in a Seattle jersey but Joseph was very sound defensively in the middle of the field for the first hour or so. The only goal of the match came off of a set piece where Rosales whipped in a cross from the left hand side with pace and Eddie Johnson got his head onto the end of the ball and directed it into the back of the net.

With this win, the Seattle Sounders are now in the final playoff spot in a highly contested Western Conference and this is their 10th straight win at home in which there is more than 40,000 people in attendance in the last 10 matches.

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USA 1-0 Honduras

On Tuesday night at Rio Tinto, the home of Real Salt Lake, the United States got a much needed needed three points to all but secure a spot for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The game started out slowly, as expected because of the elevation and the heat caused a much slower pace than both teams have become accustomed to over the course of these World Cup Qualifiers. With this victory, the United States now has 13 points through six games as well as 9 points out of their last 9.

The United States tried to play how they have been during the last two qualifying matches by playing up-tempo football and trying to create space for Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey to slot the ball into the net like they had been doing. However, Honduras was not allowing the US to find any space in the midfield for Michael Bradley and Fabian Johnson to lob the ball forward. One thing that the USA did well was that they closed down quickly and forced Honduras to play mostly behind the halfway line in their own defensive third of the pitch. Honduras did get numbers into the attacking third of their side of the pitch, but they never really caused that much havoc on the American defense and Everton goalkeeper did not have much to do last night.

When Fabian Johnson gets up the pitch to provide passes to his wingers, as what happened in the goal, but was unable to do that since Honduras really tightened up their defense through the middle of the pitch to not allow space for the United States to move the ball around. One of Honduras main players of the match was Andy Najar, former MLS player, kept streaking down the right side of the pitch but nothing really came from his crosses into the box or his squared passes, unfortunately for them.

With Altidore’s last goal, it gives him a tie for the all time goal scoring record with four goals in four straight matches going back to the match where the Americans defeated the German National Team by a final score of 4-3. And what a great team goal it was for the USA. Michael Bradley provided the initial ball to Fabian Johnson who found Graham Zusi, the Sporting Kansas City winger, down the left hand side. Zusi beat a Honduran defender and found a wide open Altidore in the box when all he had to do was tuck in behind the goalkeeper, and he did just that.

World Cup Qualifying is now taking a break for a little while, but that does not mean that the United States are done for this summer. The Gold Cup action kicks off mid-July where I will have match reports of most of the games this summer.

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