FRISCO, Texas — The Clint Dempsey traveling road show moved from Portland to Dallas on Saturday night.
A week after he scored a hat trick in Portland, Dempsey netted two goals and set up a third as the Sounders recovered from a one-goal halftime deficit to earn a 3-2 victory over FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium.
“I’m getting good looks and having the confidence to take shots on,” Dempsey said. “I thought I was maybe trying to pass the ball too much last season. This season, when I’m getting looks, good looks, I’m making sure that I take them.”
Just like last week — where he scored two goals in the final 10 minutes — Dempsey’s heroics had some drama to them.
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Tied 2-2 in the 82nd minute, FC Dallas ran a passing play that left David Texeira with an open shot from about 12 yards out. Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei got a hand on the ball and caught the deflection. Three minutes later, on the other side of the field, Dempsey took a pass at the top of the box, ran a give-and-go play with Chad Barrett, got the ball back and chipped it in the net for the winner.
The goal came just 11 minutes after Dempsey took a ball on the right side of the box, tried to play a ball to the far post, had it bounce off FC Dallas’ Stephen Keel and into the net for an own goal.
The comeback might not have been necessary if not for a poor first half from Seattle. Facing strong winds, the Sounders got outshot 11-2 and allowed six corners while earning none.
FC Dallas had nearly 60 percent of the possession in the first period and earned the first goal of the game when Frei misjudged a bouncing ball, having it bounce over his head. Texeira chased it down, heading it into the wide-open net.
Dempsey’s first goal came 12 minutes later, when he tied the score on a curling a free kick. The ball hit the cross bar and dove toward the grass, landing over the goal line.
“I’m always trying to take free kicks,” Dempsey said. “(I’m) a little bit selfish. … I feel confident to take it and I hit a good one, and lucky for me the linesman was there to see the ball go behind the line.”
The tie lasted until the 42nd minute, when Seattle’s DeAndre Yedlin shoved Texeira in the box, setting up a penalty kick. After the game, Seattle coach Sigi Schmid said the call was the right one. That didn’t help his team.
FC Dallas’ Michel buried a shot in the low right corner as Frei dove the other way.
“We were really sort of pissed off that we gave away that penalty right at the end of the first half,” Schmid said. “We felt that if we could get in at halftime 1-1, we could regroup and do a much better job in the second half.”
But with the wind at its back in the second half, Seattle recovered anyway, launching 11 attempts.
It was the perfect set up for Dempsey’s now-weekly superhero act, coming to a town near you.