Dempsey ready for his home debut with Seattle
Clint Dempsey knows a good rivalry. He played in two of
England’s biggest when Fulham would face Chelsea and later when
Tottenham Hotspur would take on Arsenal.
He’ll get a taste of the biggest soccer rivalry in the states on
”Those games are exciting,” Dempsey said. ”It’s little
victories that you get during the season that sometimes can turn a
Not that a match between Seattle and Portland needed any more
electricity, but the clash between the heated Northwest rivals will
get an added jolt when Dempsey is expected to make his home debut
before a crowd that will probably top 67,000.
Just over two weeks ago, Dempsey was introduced to a roaring
crowd as Seattle’s newest designated player before a home match
against FC Dallas, completing a transfer from Tottenham back to
Major League Soccer.
If Dempsey was taken aback by that initial reception when he was
unveiled at midfield by Seattle’s ownership, Sunday night might be
a bit overwhelming.
If the Sounders can top the 67,000 mark, it would represent the
second-largest regular season crowd in MLS history.
”The game versus Dallas where the presentation was, that was
incredible. That was like a movie,” Dempsey said Wednesday. ”So I
can’t even imagine when the whole stadium is completely packed and
they are behind us. We’ll feed off that energy and do everything we
can to make sure they go home happy.”
Dempsey is still adjusting to his move back across the Atlantic
to rejoin MLS. He was in the beginning stages of preseason training
with Tottenham when the wheels began turning on the deal that
brought him to Seattle.
He played about 60 minutes in his first match with Seattle, a
victory at Toronto, then went the whole way in a 3-1 loss at
Houston last weekend. Dempsey has yet to record a goal or assist in
his two games, despite creating a number of chances.
”You need to make sure you’re playing good, connecting passing,
creating chances. When you are doing that it eventually will come.
You don’t stress too much,” Dempsey said. ”When you’re not
creating chances that’s when you start to worry. We created chances
last game. I should have scored last game, but happy that we’re
getting good looks. It’s just a matter of time.”
Seattle coach Sigi Schmid still believes Dempsey is a few weeks
away from finding his regular season form, likely around the time
he would be joining the U.S. national team for World Cup qualifiers
at Costa Rica and versus Mexico.
”He’s still a little bit in preseason. He and I talked about
that today,” Schmid said. ”I said I don’t want him to put too
much pressure on himself. He puts pressure on himself enough as it
is. I just want him to relax and play and the goals and assists
Even if Dempsey isn’t scoring goals yet, he’s left his new team
impressed. Schmid said he marvels at the speed and quickness of
Dempsey’s footwork. Midfielder Shalrie Joseph was Dempsey’s
teammate during his first stint in the MLS with the New England
Revolution before he left for Fulham. Joseph said Dempsey has far
more confidence in his skills now than when they were first
”In New England, he was still trying to prove himself,” Joseph
said. ”Having done so much and established himself into a great
player he still works hard, still gets on the ball and he still
does great offensive things but his demeanor about him is he just
wants to win everything he plays.”