Sounders FC kept a familiar-looking roster over the offseason.
On Sunday, they opened the new MLS season with a familiar-looking win.
Seattle got two goals from Clint Dempsey and one from Obafemi Martins on its way to a 3-0 win over the New England Revolution at CenturyLink Field before a crowd of 39,782. Dempsey also assisted on the Martins goal, while Martins assisted on one of Dempsey’s.
“He’s one of the players who I’ve enjoyed playing with the most in my career,” Dempsey said. “It reminds me of being a kid, of playing pickup style. We think alike, know that if you make the right move, he’s going to find you.”
The first scoring sequence started in the 24th minute, when Dempsey took the ball inside the top of the penalty area, made several moves and was then ruled to have been tripped by New England midfielder Juan Agudelo. Referee Juan Guzman awarded the penalty kick.
Dempsey took the PK himself, sizzling it past goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth into the top right corner.
The Revs almost equalized in the 40th minute, when forward Kelyn Rowe of Federal Way put the ball low and inside the far post. However, goalkeeper Stefan Frei went down and to his right, managing to deflect the ball just wide.
“That was a world-class save,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “… Making saves at key moments in games are what separate truly outstanding goalkeepers from the rest of the pack. And tonight I thought he came up with a world-class save at a very key moment of the game for us.”
Instead of being even, Seattle doubled its lead a minute later as Dempsey sent a pass down the right side to defender Tyrone Mears. Mears sent a cross in front of the goal, where Martins headed it in.
“It’s a part of my game,” Mears said after his Sounders debut. “I like to attack on the right occasions, and when I do I like to get that good cross in. I think when you’ve got strikers like Clint and Oba, they want the ball in the box. They do fantastic work outside the box but they do the damage inside the box, and it’s important for the wide guys to get the ball to them.”
In the 67th minute, Marco Pappa sent a ball down the middle of the pitch to Martins, who ran at Shuttleworth before rolling it off to Dempsey, who scored on a open net.
“I think, ‘Yeah, I can do it, but Clint is there,’ ” Martins said. “So I just played it and scored so we can win. It was me and the goalkeeper one on one, so I don’t want to risk. (The pass from Pappa) was a good pass.”
The win was the Sounders’ first of 2015 against an MLS opponent after going 0-3-1 during the preseason.
Brad Evans went the whole way in his new center back position. Draft pick Cristian Roldan was sent on for his professional debut in the final seconds. Micheal Azira manned the defensive midfield spot vacated by All-Star Osvaldo Alonso, who is recovering from a groin injury.
“The guys I though played solidly,” Schmid said. “We’re pleased that we shut them out. That’s one of the things that we talked about during preseason, that we wanted to do a better job defensively. I thought Evans did well for his first real game at center back. … I said earlier that I wasn’t too worried about preseason results, because it’s a veteran team and as I told them, ‘You know when the bell rings.’ And they were ready tonight when the bell rang.”
The Sounders return to action at 7 p.m. Saturday when the San Jose Earthquakes visit CenturyLink Field.