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Sounders rip MLS leader FC Dallas 5-0, lose Clint Dempsey to red card

Right on the heels of Saturday’s loss to the Galaxy, the Sounders faced MLS leader FC Dallas on Wednesday hoping to for a much better result. While Seattle had a mostly unchanged side – with captain Brad Evans returning from injury, Andreas Ivanschitz replacing Nelson Valdez, and Oniel Fisher in for Tyrone Mears – Dallas brought a fairly weakened side, with many of its star attackers starting on the bench or out of the matchday squad entirely. Dallas coach Oscar Pareja may be regretting that decision after the Sounders battered his team 5-0 in a match that also featured a red card to each team.

The match opened with a bang as what looked like a corner after a strong Sounders attack turned into a red card for Dallas’ Maynor Figueroa and penalty to Seattle after the defender was judged to have blocked a Sounders goal with his hand. Clint Dempsey dispatched the penalty in the sixth minute to put Seattle up 1-0.

Match stats

After things settled down, the Sounders controlled the game consistently. In the 18th minute, Osvaldo Alonso put in a great pass for Ivanschitz, who beat the defender and chipped it over the onrushing Dallas goalkeeper to make it 2-0. Just as the team and fans were done celebrating, Seattle was on the front foot again and Dempsey slipped Jordan Morris in through the Dallas defense, and the rookie forward blasted it past the goalkeeper to make it 3-0 after just 22 minutes.

The Sounders continued to dominate, holding onto the ball and getting some chances but no more goals. In the 33rd minute, however, referee Ricardo Salazar showed a straight red card to Dempsey for putting his hands to the face of Dallas’ Juan Esteban Ortiz. It looked soft on replays and Ortiz certainly made the most of it and was given a yellow card himself, but Dempsey was sent off nonetheless. He’ll miss Sunday’s match against the Portland Timbers unless the Sounders submit a successful appeal.

The start of the second half was a much more tepid affair, even though the Sounders controlled the ball for much of it. Things heated up quickly, though, as a strong attacking move by Fisher and Aaron Kovar led to a deep shot from Joevin Jones that deflected off a Dallas defender and flew into the net for the Sounders’ fourth goal of the night in the 61st minute. The Sounders continued their onslaught on Dallas’ goal, and a deep free kick from Ivanschitz in the 73rd was headed in by Cristian Roldan to make it 5-0.

Man of the match: Alonso. His influence was strong for most of the game.

Turning point: We don’t know things would have been different without the early red card, as it allowed the Sounders to get in control right away.

One reason to worry: Dempsey will likely be suspended unless the Sounders mount a successful appeal.

One reason to relax: A 5-0 win over the league leaders is pretty impressive, and hopefully for the Sounders, a sign of things to come.

Spenser Davis also covers the Sounders for Sounder at Heart.