CARSON, CALIF. — Seattle Sounders FC is investing almost $7 million this season in designated players Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins.
What they are getting for their money was on display Saturday night at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., where Martins’ finish after an exchange of passes with Dempsey gave the Sounders a 2-1 win over Chivas USA.
“We scored a great goal,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “I thought Oba deserved the goal based on the hard work he did. Clint had two assists tonight. So as long as he is involved in goals, that’s what’s important for us.”
The combination began with Martins one-touching a pass to Dempsey about 50 yards from the goal of Chivas USA, which by this time was playing a man down after a red card was awarded to Marco Delgado. Dempsey carried to near the penalty arc, where he threaded the ball forward to Martins, who reached it about 7 yards from the goal and lifted it above diving goalkeeper Dan Kennedy.
“I think I saw like three defenders or something close to (Dempsey) coming in deep from the right side,” Martins said. “So the little space that I showed Clint to give me the ball, he saw it, he gave me the right ball and I finished it well. It was a good goal.”
It was the second goal of the season for Martins, who leads Major League Soccer with four assists. Dempsey is right behind with three assists and is tied for the MLS lead with six goals.
“There was a few times we linked up really well,” Dempsey said. “ ... He went close on one occasion, and he scored on the other one. So (I’m) happy with him scoring, happy to contribute in the game and getting two assists. So it’s about keep going.”
Earlier in the game, Dempsey had assisted Lamar Neagle on the Sounders’ first goal.
Dempsey is the highest-paid player in MLS with guaranteed compensation of $5,038,566 this season. Martins is the club’s second-highest-paid player with guaranteed compensation of $1.75 million.
Seattle’s other designated player — defensive midfielder Osvaldo Alonso — was involved in the game’s first goal, as his early foul ruled just inside the penalty box led to a PK by Chivas USA’s Erick Torres.
The Sounders returned from Southern California on Sunday. They will get back to training Monday, preparing for their 1 p.m. Saturday home match against the Colorado Rapids. ... Seattle opened its MLS Reserve League season with a 3-2 win over Chivas USA on Sunday in Carson. The Sounders scored on goals from Tristan Bowen and Chad Barrett, and a Chivas USA own goal. Marcus Hahnemann went the distance in goal. The Sounders Reserves will play their home opener against Colorado at 1 p.m. Sunday at Starfire Sports Stadium in Tukwila.Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808 firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer @donruiztnt