On Clint Dempsey, one man as yet unheard from: U.S. national team boss Jurgen Klinsmann


As the Clint Dempsey news boulder continues to roll downhill, we have now heard from the U.S. international himself.  We’ve heard from the Sounders suits about how the blockbuster got stitched together. The chattering class has weighed in, and then some.

We’ve even heard from MLS, kind of anyway, as they walk us back along the trail to point out hidden little rules that were always there, apparently.

The one figure still to be heard from in all this: U.S. national team manager Jurgen Klinsmann (pictured).

We won’t for a while, either. A U.S. Soccer spokesman told me Tuesday that Klinsmann is vacationing abroad with his family. He will meet up with the team this weekend in Serbia ahead of next week’s match in Sarajevo. So, we’ll probably hear whatever Klinsmann has to say by Sunday or Monday. (The roster will be announced one of those days, too, according to U.S. Soccer.)

What the boss says about this is meaningful, because Dempsey is the U.S. captain and previously the walking, talking, emotional embodiment of what Klinsmann desired as the very bedrock of his program: the constant, dogged pursuit of individual betterment.

Dempsey long ago left the MLS nest for Fulham, with no guarantees. Points proven there, he left the Fulham nest for Tottenham, where the competition for spots reached another level. That’s what Klinsmann wanted from all his U.S. men, that same hard-driving ambition.

So, what will Klinsmann say now?

Here’s what ESPN’s Taylor Twellman had to say on the subject during Sunday’s Soccer Today radio show/podcast (disclosure: it’s a show I co-host):

Publicly he cannot say anything. He cannot come out and say ‘This is a step back for Clint Dempsey’s his career.’ But we know what Jurgen he has said before about going to Europe and pushing yourself, about challenging yourself, being in those spots where you are not guaranteed a [starting] spot.”

By the way, remember that Twellman played alongside Dempsey in New England. Twellman noted that Dempsey “hated” playing on artificial turf. Well, he’s on the stuff in Seattle, perhaps a better version that Gillette Stadium had a few years back. Still, it’s a great point, and something to monitor going forward.

(MORE: Another view of how Dempsey’s move could impact the national team)

Marco Verratti crushes teammates in PSG ultimatum

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When asked if he wants to leave Paris Saint-Germain, Marco Verratti gave an answer sure to turn the heads of his teammates in the French capital.

Transfer rumors have swirled around the Italian midfielder all summer, and he finally addressed the situation in Italian publication Gazzetta dello Sport. When asked if he wanted to leave, Verratti said he’d like to stay, but if he is to do so, the club must come through in the transfer window.

“It’s not that I want to go at all costs,” Verratti said. “It’s just I want to see if they really do build a great squad this time. In that case, I would be happy to stay.”

“Each year they say they are going to build a great squad, but we’ve seen the results. Promises are not enough. If, on the other hand, this time PSG with [sporting director Antero] Henrique stick to what they say, then I will be absolutely happy to stay. At the end of the day, nobody is forcing me to leave.”

It’s one thing for a player to say he thinks the club needs reinforcements in the summer, but Veratti goes all in here. For the Italian to claim that promises had been broken and good players were not brought in, that’s a ruthless aside to his current teammates.

Media reports have linked Verratti with a move away from Parc de Princes all summer. The 24-year-old has been most heavily linked with Barcelona, although clubs like Bayern Munich and Chelsea have been mentioned. According to a number of reports, Verratti turned down a new PSG contract as recently as last week in a meeting with the sporting director.

MLS Snapshot: Houston Dynamo 1-1 FC Dallas (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): It ended scoreless when the two sides met for the first time this season, and although there were goals in this one, it finished with the same outcome. The Dynamo and Dallas remain equal on points following the draw, with each team boasting 25 at the midway point through the MLS campaign. Goals from Erick “Cubo’ Torres and Maxi Urruti cancelled one another out at BBVA Compass Stadium, but it was the Dallas that had more of the chances in the match. The Dynamo remain one of the top sides in MLS at home, boasting a record of 7-0-2 in their opening nine matches in Houston.

Three two moments that mattered

19′ — Torres makes it 11 on the year! — Give Erick Torres an inch this season… Well, you know the rest of the saying…

59′ — Urruti makes Dynamo pay for missed chance on other end — The Dynamo were so close to making it 2-0 just a minute sooner, but Maxi Urruti had other plans for the visitors.

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Man of the match: Maxi Urruti

Goalscorers: Erick Torres (19′), Maxi Urruti (59′)

MLS Snapshot: Toronto FC 2-0 New England Revolution (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less): Toronto FC was without some of its regulars on Friday night, but that didn’t matter much as Greg Vanney’s side avenged their loss to the Revolution from two weeks ago. Coming off of just two days’ rest, TFC continued its push towards an Eastern Conference title at BMO Field behind Drew Moor’s first goal of the season. Sebastian Giovinco was held in check most of the evening, but the Italian scorer did what he does best in the final minute of stoppage time to seal it for the home side with his seventh goal of the year. The Revs pushed and pushed during the second half for an equalizer but TFC’s resilience defensively proved superior as they kept the visitors off the scoreboard for their eighth shutout of 2017.

Three moments that mattered

11′ — Moor taps in for early Toronto advantage — Even on two days’ rest Toronto looks like this…

57′ — Cheeky Nguyen keeps Revs in match — Lee Nguyen is typically known for his creativity in the offensive half but it was this clever play defensively that kept the Revolution down just one goal.

83′ — Kamara comes so close! — It’s just not meant to be on the night for the Revs.

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Man of the match: Alex Bono

Goalscorers: Drew Moor (11′), Sebastian Giovinco (90+6′)

Video: Orlando City product scores crazy bicycle kick

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Goals like this one below never grow old.

Orlando City academy product Alejandro Pereira scored a brilliant bicycle kick for his Under-17/18 side in their 2-0 win on Thursday night during the U.S. Soccer Development Academy playoffs.

Orlando will continue its path in the Academy Playoffs on Saturday when they face off against Players Development Academy (PDA) U-17/18, before meeting Indiana Fire U-17/18 on Monday.