SEATTLE — Stop him if you can. MLS teams are learning quickly, however, that they can’t.
Sounders FC superstar Clint Dempsey scored another two goals Saturday, an astonishing third multigoal performance in the past four games, to lead soaring Seattle to a third straight win, 4-1, in front of 38,582 fans at CenturyLink Field.
At Dempsey’s lead, the goals, wins and points are rolling in at a record pace. Even teammates are left in awe.
“It’s unreal,” said defender Dylan Remick. “He’s showing everybody why he’s one of the best American players to ever play the game.”
The glittering performance saw the Sounders (5-2-1) earn a share of the league lead in the standings while improving to 9-2-2 all-time against the Rapids, their most wins against an MLS opponent.
And once again, it was all about the red-hot Dempsey, who boasts a league-leading eight goals and has played an important role in 13 of last 15 scored by the Sounders when he’s on the field. The U.S. team captain has factored into a scoring play in his past seven regular-season games, dating to 2013.
Dempsey’s eight goals, which have come in a 345-minute burst of game time, are already one of the top 10 goal-scoring seasons in team history. No Sounder had more than nine in 2013.
So is it the best run coach Sigi Schmid has ever seen?
“It’s as good a streak ... as you’ll see,” he said, also referencing the 24-goal season by Galaxy star Carlos Ruiz in 2002.
And for Dempsey?
“The year I scored 23 with Fulham, I was on a pretty good run there,” he said with a smile.
Seattle, though, hasn’t seen anything like it.
The Sounders, upon taking a 1-0 lead just before halftime, didn’t waste any time extending the advantage against what had been a staunch Colorado defense.
Dempsey doubled the score in the 47th minute off a rebound chance, chipping goalkeeper Clint Irwin on a play set up by one of his own head-shakingly skillful moves. He then made it 3-0 on a looping header from 7 yards out in the 52nd minute.
“We kind of never took our foot off the gas,” said Dempsey, who has nine goals and three assists in his past seven games.
The Rapids (3-2-2) pulled a goal back in the 62nd minute through Dillon Serna, but the Sounders answered through designated player Obafemi Martins, who scored his third goal of the season in the 75th minute — punctuating a big win with his signature back-flip celebration.
“It’s my first goal this year at home,” Martins said. “I needed it so bad.”
Goalkeeper Stefan Frei said losing the shutout — something that has eluded the Sounders in five games — was disappointing, but a “big statement win” makes up for it.
“It’s awesome to be a part of a team where you can win 4-1,” he added. “As a goalkeeper that saves you from a heart attack.”
Going into Saturday, every Rapids game this season had been scoreless at halftime. That looked to be the case again until first-half stoppage time, when Martins found Dempsey with a sublime pass behind the Colorado back line.
Dempsey rounded Irwin, but his shot toward an open goal was stopped, not cleared, by defender Drew Moor, and Seattle midfielder Lamar Neagle was there to smash home a shot from a yard away.