Sounders clinch playoff spot by beating Real Salt Lake, 3-1
SEATTLE (AP) Clint Dempsey scored two goals and assisted on another, all in the first 20 minutes of the game, as the Seattle Sounders beat Real Salt Lake 3-1 to wrap up an MLS playoff berth Sunday.
The Sounders (15-13-6, 51 points) ended the regular season on an eight-game unbeaten streak (4-0-4). They have made the playoffs in all seven years of their existence.
With Sunday's other results, the Sounders are the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference. They will play host to No. 5 seed and defending MLS Cup champion Los Angeles in a knockout game on Wednesday or Thursday.
Dempsey put the Sounders on the board in the fifth minute when he met a cross from Obafemi Martins at the top right corner of the 6-yard box and sent it into the net while falling to the turf. It was his ninth goal of the year.
Marco Pappa scored in the 10th minute off of a cross from Dempsey. In the 20th Dempsey made it 3-0 when he buried the rebound of a hard shot by Martins.
Luis Gill scored in the 77th minute for Salt Lake (11-15-8, 41 points), which missed the playoffs after seven straight appearances.