The Battle of the Clints was no contest in Seattle on Saturday. Above, Clint Dempsey, left, rounds Colorado goalkeeper Clint Irwin to set up the Seattle Sounders' first goal in a 4-1 win. He scored two of his own as well. (Cal Sport Media/AP)
Clint Dempsey is making MLS his own personal playground these days.
Dempsey's forgettable first half-season in Seattle long in the rear-view mirror, the U.S. men's national team captain and leading MLS goal scorer added two more goals to his season tally and helped set up another in the Sounders' 4-1 victory over the Colorado Rapids on Saturday.
At the end of the first half, when it appeared as if the teams would go into halftime even at 0-0, Dempsey was played into the box by a defense-splitting Obafemi Martins through ball before rounding Rapids goalkeeper Clint Irwin. Dempsey played the ball across, where Rapids defender Drew Moor could do nothing but get the slightest of touches on the ball, and Lamar Neagle bundled home for the opener that gave the Sounders a momentum boost going into the break.
It didn't take Dempsey long to take matters into his own feet (and head) in the second half. With just more than a minute gone, Dempsey was rewarded for an audacious 360, back-heel pass to Marco Pappa, chipping a rebound off Pappa's ensuing shot over a helpless Irwin.
BIRD: Dempsey quells talk of slump with hat trick in Portland
Then, minutes later, Dempsey looped a header over Irwin after Chad Marshall headed a corner kick back across the box to mark his third multi-goal game this month.
In six games -- just imagine if he hadn't had to serve a two-game suspension
in late March -- Dempsey already has eight goals and three assists (he wasn't credited for an assist on Neagle's goal), putting the 5-2-1 Sounders on his back. Jurgen Klinsmann and all U.S. men's national team fans can only hope for the same this summer in Brazil.