SEATTLE — Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer hailed Clint Dempsey’s big-game chops within the aftermath of his crew’s 2-Zero victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps within the MLS Western Conference semifinals on Thursday evening at CenturyLink Field.
“Big time players make big plays, right?” Schmetzer requested reporters. “Tonight, you saw Dempsey make some big plays.”
Dempsey scored within the 56th and 88th minutes because the defending MLS Cup champions booked a spot within the Western Conference finals for a second-straight season.
His first aim got here from the very fringe of Vancouver’s field, when the veteran ahead labored himself into an open pocket of area and completed with a left-footed shot over Whitecaps goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic.
The second, which got here with Seattle nonetheless weak to an away aim that may have knocked it out, was badisted by each Nicolas Lodeiro and Victor Rodriguez as Dempsey snuck in on the again put up to place the sport away..
“The first goal was a really good effort from distance,” Schmetzer mentioned. “The second aim was simply his instincts contained in the field.
“It was a good play from Nico and Victor to get the ball back in quickly, even though some of us might have been saying to slow it down, but those guys made the plays that they needed to. Clint made the plays that he needed to.”
Dempsey missed the primary leg of the collection as a consequence of a red-card suspension he’d picked up on the ultimate day of the common season. He sat out all of Seattle’s MLS Cup run final yr as a consequence of an irregular heartbeat badysis, and requested if he may inform if his main man was particularly raring to go on Thursday, Schmetzer mentioned: “He’s been ready for a long time.”
Dempsey, nonetheless, performed down any higher significance to his efficiency primarily based on his latest postseason absences.
“Anytime you can play in playoff games and contribute in good way, it feels good,” Dempsey mentioned. “I don’t look at like that, like I missed out. I’m just excited to be playing now and want to make the most of the time I have left.”
Though the Whitecaps have been outshot 20-2 and surrendered nearly all of the possession, it appeared as if the guests would possibly have the ability to grind their method into additional time with the combination rating nonetheless at Zero-Zero into the second half. Many of the 39,587 rain-soaked followers in attendance started getting ready for a protracted evening.
Then Dempsey delivered — not simply as soon as however twice — a playoff efficiency that won’t quickly be forgotten in Cascadia.
“He’s worked hard at his craft for many years, starting when he was a little kid, when his mom and dad took him to all the games and all that sort of stuff,” Schmetzer mentioned. “His ending and his potential to only discover targets in moments is super. Ever since he is come right here, he is scored some fairly mbadive targets for this membership.
“Tonight was one of those textbook nights where he shows up and does what he does best.”
Seattle will now face both rival Portland or Houston within the convention finals beginning on Nov. 21.
Matt Pentz is a Seattle-based soccer reporter masking primarily the Sounders, Timbers and Whitecaps. Follow him on Twitter @mattpentz.