Clint Dempsey finally scored a goal in his return to MLS. It took more than eight games, but his run of futility is officially over. Unfortunately, the goal was not enough to help the Seattle Sounders do more than tie the LA Galaxy 1-1 Sunday night.
Dempsey’s goal was a beauty as he flicked a long cross off his heel from in close to the goal. In front of a crowd of more than 66,000 fans at Century Link Field, the U.S. National team’s captain helped the Sounders break a four-game losing streak.
The goal came on the last day of Major League Soccer’s regular season. Maybe it will be a goal that can get Dempsey going and give him and his Sounders some momentum for 2013 MLS Playoffs.
MLS needs Dempsey to be a goal-scorer and a human highlight reel. He has big potential as a marketing machine. With Eddie Johnson alongside Dempsey, the Sounders are a definite contender for MLS Cup. Having both players turning the Sounders into a winning franchise is important to the MLS legacy and bringing the league all the way to the mainstream.
This match was supposed to be Landon Donovan’s night as he was trying to break the all-time MLS record for regular season goals scored. He is currently tied with Jeff Cunningham at 134 and will have to wait to break it until next season.
It was an incredibly important tie for the Galaxy as they sewed up the third seed in the Western Conference standings and were able to avoid the extra playoff match between the four and five seeds. That game will now be contested by the Sounders and the Colorado Rapids in Seattle.
The Galaxy will play second-seeded Real Salt Lake in the Western Conference semifinals in a home and home series. Portland will await the winner of the Sounders and Rapids match.
On the Eastern side of things, the New York Red Bulls – champs of the regular season and Supporters’ Shield winners – await the winner of the Houston Dynamo, Montreal Impact play-in game. Sporting Kansas City and the New England Revolution will face off in the other home and home Eastern Conference semifinal.
The match between the Galaxy and Sounders was marred by an awful no-call by the referees on a sure goal off the head of Omar Gonzalez of the Galaxy.
MLS is not able to install their own version of replay technology because the league is controlled by what FIFA dictates. IFA is planning on initiating goal-line technology for the 2014 World Cup to prevent that kind of referee mistake.
Howard Alperin is Managing Editor of AmericanizeSoccer.com