SEATTLE — Sources have independently confirmed to NBC ProSoccerTalk that United States national team striker Clint Dempsey will sign with Seattle Sounders FC. Doug McIntyre of ESPNFC broke the news on Friday, and NBC’s sources said that Dempsey would be revealed as a Sounders player on Saturday.
The Sounders declined to comment on the multiple reports of Dempsey’s signing on Friday.
Rumors of the deal began circulating on Thursday afternoon, when he was spotted in the San Francisco airport:
Dempsey spoke highly of the atmosphere in Seattle during the week of the U.S.’s 2-0 win over Panama in a World Cup qualifier on June 11. In his pre-match press conference with head coach Jürgen Klinsmann, he said:
I’m good friends with Eddie Johnson. He always tells me about what it’s like, playing here and playing in front of the fans and just how it’s an atmosphere that’s comparable to how it is in Europe. It’s great to see because I remember when I first started out in the MLS, things weren’t like that. It’s great to see that the game is building and there are markets like this that people have so much passion for the game. I almost feel like I was in another country the other day, when the Seattle Sounders game was on while I was walking to get dinner. Just as you walk past the bar, you see that the TV’s on, and everybody’s watching soccer. For me, that was awesome. So I’m happy to play here and look forward to the game and feeling what that atmosphere will be like.
Likely instrumental in this deal, as Dempsey mentioned, is the player’s friendship with Eddie Johnson. They played together at Fulham in the Premier League, as well as being teammates with the U.S. since 2004.
Johnson played it cool on Twitter on Thursday, but his post is now starting to look like misdirection — or perhaps “spilling the beans” while claiming to have not spilled the beans yet.
Dempsey has spoken often of his desire to play at the highest level possible, but while Seattle may not exactly be under the shining lights of the UEFA Champions League, the Sounders do average more than 40,000 fans per game, the highest in MLS.
Christian Pulisic and Clint Dempsey combined for another goal, and the USMNT leads Panama 1-0 in a World Cup qualifier Tuesday in Panama City.
A physical, chippy first half didn’t see many clear cut chances and was 0-0 after 38. minutes.
[ STREAM: Live on Telemundo Deportes ]
The first 10 minutes were a bit frenetic, with the U.S. focused on adventurous first touch passes when it managed to earn the ball from Panama.
That feel wasn’t aided by the officiating, as Cesar Ramos was inconsistent in a very physical opening half-hour.
Then, the breakthrough. Dempsey moved to within a goal of Landon donovan’s all-time mark thanks to Pulisic, who cooked Felipe Baloy and held off Roman Torres before laying off to the veteran. 1-0, 39′.
The lead lasted all of three minutes, as Gomez pounced on a loose ball with the Yanks’ back line at sixes and sevens off a long throw-in. Gomez turned off Jermaine Jones and lost Villafana to bury his chance behind Howard. 1-1, 44′.
The United States looks to finish the international break in an automatic qualifier spot in the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying table when it faces Panama in Panama City at 10:05 p.m. EDT Tuesday.
A lot of the faces are the same from the 6-0 demolition of Honduras in California on Friday, though John Brooks and Sebastian Lletget are out with injury.
Jermaine Jones replaces Lletget while Tim Ream moves into the fray for Brooks. Geoff Cameron played Friday’s match with a minor injury, and moves out of the XI for Graham Zusi.
USMNT: Howard; Villafana, Gonzalez, Ream, Zusi; Bradley, Jones, Nagbe; Pulisic, Dempsey, Altidore
Subs: Bingham, Rimando; Beasley, Besler, Camron, Zimmerman; Acosta, Arriola, Bedoya, Kljestan, McCarty, Pulisic; Wondolowski
Diego Reyes’ 58th minute header off a corner kick gave Mexico a lead it wouldn’t give up in a 1-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago at Hasely Crawford Stadium in World Cup qualifying on Tuesday.
The win gives Mexico a table-topping 10 points, seven ahead of last-place T&T.
[ MORE: Honduras 1-1 Costa Rica ]
The Soca Warriors were in fine, stingy form early, and looked to have gone ahead on the counterattack when Joevin Jones belted a left-footer into the Mexico goal.
The linesman, however, ruled that Jones was offside. He almost certainly was not, as Mexico’s supreme luck in CONCACAF play continued for at least one night.
Hector Herrera hammered a shot off the far goal post early in the second half as Mexico attempted to grab control.
T&T goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams jammed Miguel Layun’s shot over the bar moments before the breakthrough from Reyes.
Williams then saved Javier Hernandez’s 64th minute offering as Mexico looked to put three points to bed.
Joevin Jones won a free kick in the 76th minute that gave a brief moment of light to T&T’s hopes, but Jones hit the wall and Mexico cleared the ball.
Honduras did the United States a favor by taking a point from visiting Costa Rica in Tuesday’s CONCACAF World Cup qualifier in San Pedro Sula.
Anthony Lozano pushed a 35th minute chance past an indecisive Keylor Navas, as Los Catrachos set the stage for a hopeful three points.
[ STREAM: T&T-Mexico, Panama-USMNT ]
Vancouver Whitecaps center back Kendall Waston’s haphazard defending helped allow the goal, but he scored off a late Costa Rica corner kick to ensure Costa Rica will finish the international break in second place.
With four points, Honduras moves ahead of Trinidad and Tobago and the United States before both sides play Tuesday.
Costa Rica beat the U.S. 4-0 in 2016, while the Yanks battered Honduras 6-0 on Friday.