And then the Sounders went out and beat the New York Red Bulls, 3-1, showing that even with a different cast of characters they should contend for another championship.
Seattle had the Red Bulls their first loss after two wins to start the 2017 season and ended an 18-game unbeaten streak in regular-season play, one-game short of the MLS record.
“What I would say is that today was a very good game," Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer said, "but it’s still a work in progress. I’m not going to put any pressure or crown us kings of this very competitive league yet. But I do think that some of the potential that is there certainly puts us with all of the top teams in our league."
Clint Dempsey, who was sidelined for the last two months of the regular season and playoffs with a heart ailment, Jordan Morris and first-year Sounder Harry Shipp each had one goal.
The Sounders -- and U.S. national team -- suffered an injury scare in the first half when Morris went down in a heap, tweaking an ankle injury that bothered him in preseason, but the big news -- for the Sounders and national team -- was Dempsey's continued progress.
Dempsey scored in the Sounders' 2-1 loss at Houston in the season opener and was dangerous in the 2-2 tie with Montreal. His goal against the Red Bulls came in his first appearance at C-Link in almost seven months.
“I think what you saw out of Clint today was a guy who has fully bought in for the Seattle Sounders,” said Schmetzer. “He was defending, he was working, he wants this team to succeed. I thought that was great.”