The Seattle Sounders star registered his first MLS hat trick in his most recent game despite a hectic schedule and should be a little fresher for his club's attempt to blemish its Western Conference rival's unbeaten record.
FC Dallas (4-0-1) has earned 13 points in its first five games for the first time after collecting a third straight win last Saturday, 4-1 over Houston.
Je-Vaughn Watson scored twice in the second half, giving him a team-best three goals this season. In its first year under coach Oscar Pareja, Dallas is the only team with double-digit goals (13) and has outscored its past three opponents 9-3.
FC Dallas also was undefeated through five games (3-0-2) in 2006 but has never gone six without losing. The club also is seeking its first four-game win streak since Sept. 26-Oct. 17, 2009.
Seattle (2-2-1) is second in the league with nine goals and needed all the scoring it could muster to rally from a late two-goal deficit in Portland last Saturday. The Sounders got those two goals from Dempsey in the final five minutes, including a penalty kick in the 87th, to force a 4-all draw.
"We can't make mistakes. We have to be aware of him at all times," Dallas captain Matt Hedges told the team's website. "We saw him last year and kind of saw what he is capable of, but he is in better form right now. We just have to be aware of him at all times."
Former Dallas star Kenny Cooper had the other goal last week, his second in as many games. Dempsey played that contest less than 72 hours after going the full 90 minutes in the United States' tie with Mexico in an exhibition game in Glendale, Ariz. He then flew to Portland and was slated to play just 60 minutes but was on the field for another 90.
With a week between games, Dempsey will try to add to his season total of four goals, tied for the most in MLS despite playing just three games. Dempsey was suspended for two after hitting Toronto defender Mark Bloom in the groin during a 2-1 loss March 15.
"You always feel good when you are contributing, scoring goals or getting assists," Dempsey said. "I'm in a good rhythm at the moment and it's about continuing that form."
Dempsey has scored two goals in three career MLS games at Dallas, where his youth career began.
The Sounders had been 2-0-3 there before losing 2-0 on Oct. 19 in their lone visit last season. They had won three in a row over Dallas and were unbeaten in the previous six MLS meetings.
Seattle is 1-0-1 away from home this season while Dallas is 3-0-0 at home.
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- Clint Dempsey
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