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SEATTLE -- Clint Dempsey was a spectator last time the Seattle Sounders played archrival Portland, kept off the field by a red-card suspension during a 3-1 loss.This time, he took charge.Dempsey scored twice and Cristian Roldan added a goal -- all in the second half -- in Seattles 3-1 victory over the Timbers on Sunday night.In front of 53,302 fans at CenturyLink Field, the Sounders (9-12-3, 30 points) won their third straight game and extended their unbeaten streak to four (3-0-1). They climbed within two points of Portland (8-10-8, 32 points) for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference.Once we got the (first) goal, that kind of opened things up, Dempsey said. They had to press forward to try to get the equalizer, and we were able to pick them apart. We pretty much put in a perfect performance except for conceding that (late) one.Portland, which got a goal from Fanendo Adi in second-half stoppage time, has lost four of its last five games and remains winless on the road (0-7-6).Dempsey put Seattle on the board in the 61st minute when he converted a penalty kick past goalkeeper Jake Gleeson. The chance was set up when Roldan was taken down by defender Vytas Andriuskevicius just outside the box on the right-wing side. Dempsey, who missed a PK in last Sundays 2-1 victory against Real Salt Lake, drilled this try high into the left side with Gleeson going the opposite way.In the 80th minute, Roldan sent a through ball toward the Portland penalty area. Demspey caught up with it, took two dribbles, and fired it into the back-right corner from just inside the restraining arc.Before he scored either of those goals, Dempsey, who now has eight goals for the season, had a near miss on a wide-open shot from 17 yards straight in front.Early in the season, that would have been the only chance I got all game, Dempsey said. Now, when I miss a good chance, Im going to have two or three more. When you fight hard and keep yourself in the game, you have people who can create opportunities, and that puts you in situations to get good looks.Roldan headed in a shot from inside the 6-yard box to make it 3-0 in the 83rd. It was his third of the year.The Sounders current four-game unbeaten run has come since Brian Schmetzer was named interim coach after the team parted ways with longtime coach Sigi Schmid on July 26. Seattle has gone from well out of the playoff picture to right back into it.When you have a committed group of players, they can do the math, and they read some of the highlights in the stories that are out there that maybe the Sounders arent going to make the playoffs this year, Schmetzer said. But thats a proud team, and their response has been tremendous. I think their confidence is high, and with each win, they believe more and more that they can win the next one.The Timbers nearly had the equalizer twice in a span of 4 minutes. In the 63rd minute, Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei leaped to slap away a shot by Jack McInerney, and defender Joevin Jones then cleared it away from an open right side of the net.Four minutes later, Frey went down at the top of his 6-yard box and denied McInerney in a one-on-one chance, stopping the shot with his right hand.We have a chance to redeem ourselves next weekend, Timbers coach Caleb Porter said, and we will. 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BRASILIA, Brazil -- The frustration with Brazils soccer team is so great that fans are jeering Neymar and wishing womens star Marta could come to the rescue.While Marta has been thriving with the womens team, Neymar has disappointed at the mens Olympic tournament, where Brazil is facing early elimination in a scenario that once seemed unthinkable in the soccer-obsessed host country.Fans watching Brazil struggle in a 0-0 draw against Iraq on Sunday heckled Neymar by chanting Martas name at the Mane Garrincha Stadium in Brasilia, wishing shed help solve the many problems of the mens team.Neymar and his young teammates had already been held to a scoreless draw by South Africa in their opener, leaving Brazil in need of a victory against Denmark in its final Group A match on Wednesday to advance to the quarterfinals and avoid another huge embarrassment two years after the demoralizing 7-1 loss to Germany in the semifinals of the World Cup.Brazils senior team, which used to represent soccer excellence, also endured a disappointing elimination in the group stage of the Copa America Centenario this summer.Marta has become a symbol of the Jogo Bonito (The Beautiful Game) that Brazilian fans want to see in soccer.When Brazils womens team enchanted the crowd at the Olympic Stadium in a 5-1 rout of Sweden on Saturday, fans chanted Marta is better than Neymar several times.This comparison we leave to the fans. We all cheer for the mens team and we know that they cheer for us, said Marta, who scored twice in that match to help the womens team easily reach the next round. Neymar is the best player we have right now, he is fantastic.Brazil mens coach Rogerio Micale praised Marta and the womens team but downplayed the Marta chants at the mens game.You cant compare womens football with mens football, but we have to congratulate them, Micale said. They are going through a great moment, playing a great tournament. We have been watching them. They have already advanced and I hope that the mens team can succeed as well in this first stage.ddddddddddddMarta has been constantly featured in television sports shows across Brazil, giving many interviews and always showing off her broad smile.Neymar, meanwhile, continues to keep to himself, appearing in rare news conferences organized by the Brazilian soccer confederation. In a recent one, he got into a discussion with a reporter and said that he should be allowed to go out and party as much as he wants to during his time off.After Sundays match, he sped past reporters, head down, leaving the younger players to try to explain the teams disappointing performance to the media. He entered the teams bus and sat by himself, headphones on.Neymar arrived as the top player at the Olympic soccer tournament and as one of the biggest stars of the Rio de Janeiro Games. The Barcelona striker skipped the Copa America to be able to play at the Olympics and try to give Brazil its first soccer gold medal.The 24-year-old Neymar took on the responsibility of trying to restore the nations soccer pride after the recent disappointments, but was criticized by some for spending time on vacation and not arriving for the tournament as prepared as other players.He was far from his best in the first two games, unable to ignite the scoring power of an attack that also has promising stars Gabriel Jesus and Gabigol, touted as some of the best youngsters in South American soccer.Neymar is an experienced player, Micale said. He is gaining rhythm as we play. He obviously remains an important player.Brazil is the main favorite to win the Olympic tournament, which is played mostly with under-23 squads and features very few stars. The Olympic gold is the only trophy the five-time World Cup champions havent won in mens soccer. ' ' '
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