Kei Kamara scores twice for Columbus as it holds on for a 3-2 victory over Seattle to snap the Sounders’ three-game winning streak. Clint Dempsey scored twice in a game for the second time this season.

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Clint Dempsey had his second two-goal game of the season, but a lethargic Seattle defense couldn’t make it stand up in a 3-2 loss Saturday night at Mapfre Stadium.

The Crew (4-3-2) scored in the 10th minute and never trailed thanks to a two-goal performance by Kei Kamara, another goal by Federico Higuain and some questionable defending by the Sounders (5-3-1).

For coach Sigi Schmid, it was Higuain’s goal four minutes into the second half that changed things. After Dempsey’s first goal sent the teams into the half tied at 1-1, Higuain took possession along the left side of the Seattle penalty area. Seemingly looking for an open teammate, Higuain continued to his right, reached midfield and eventually fired a right-footed shot that beat Stefan Frei for a 2-1 Crew lead.

The ball sailed through a channel flanked by five Seattle would-be defenders.

“We stayed in the game and got back in the game,” Schmid said. “The goal Higuain scores, we didn’t defend that well. We didn’t step up. That was early in the second half, and everything we talked about at halftime goes out the window.”

It would get worse before it got better. Nine minutes later, Crew midfielder Justin Meram found open space along the left flank and sent in an easy cross to waiting teammate Hector Jimenez, who in turn redirected the ball back to the center and to a waiting Kamara. He easily beat Frei for his seventh goal of the year.

It marked only the second time Seattle had allowed three goals this year.

“We gave them too much space,” Schmid said. “We might’ve gotten the tactics wrong a little bit, and that’s on me. If we ran into them again, maybe we’d play them a little bit differently. We gave them too much space.”

Dempsey wasn’t done, however. After a lengthy build-up, Gonzalo Pineda chipped a pass past the Crew back line, where Dempsey and Obafemi Martins were waiting alone with Crew goalkeeper Steve Clark. Martins’ initial attempt was saved, but Dempsey collected the rebound for his seventh goal of the season.

“Martins was judged to be onside and Dempsey was judged to be even with the ball and they were therefore judged onside on the field,” referee Edvin Jurisevic said. “The assistant referee was slightly behind the play.”

Dempsey and Martins did not speak to reporters after the game, although Dempsey gave his jersey to a fan and signed autographs well after the final whistle.

The game marked a return for defender Chad Marshall, the Crew’s all-time leader in both games and minutes played during a 10-year tenure with the team. He was the last player to leave the field and gave his jersey to a security guard.

“It’s always tough when you lose,” he said. “Us at this club, every game we play we want to try and win and get three points. This was no different, so we’re disappointed not to get a result.”

Kamara beat Marshall and scored on a header to open the scoring on the earliest goal allowed by the Sounders this year. Dempsey and Kamara are now tied for the league lead with seven goals. Dempsey’s other goal came on a left-footed bender that beat Clark from outside the penalty area in the 24th minute.