From a personal, bigger picture perspective, Clint Dempsey’s loan to Fulham may turn out to be just what the doctor ordered.
He will come into camp for Seattle Sounders fit, presumably sharp and ready to make the impact that he failed to make as a celebrated, prodigal son a year ago. Clearly, as MLS matters go, Dempsey needs to make some hay, or this thing will be a buffet portion of “bust.”
Let’s assume for now the guy is going to score some goals, set up a few more, and fulfill some of those big expectations.
But the man surely would have liked to have done a little more during his two-month stay back at Craven Cottage, a place near and dear to the Deuce heart. Dempsey talked recently about the ins and out, ups and downs of this thing recently.
The only way all this could be bad personally for the Texas native: if his time in West London comes and goes without helping Fulham escape the relegation mire, it could provide more ammunition to the doubters who said all along his move back into MLS was a flawed strategy. (It wasn’t; a lot of things go into these choices, as we’ve talked about before.)
The raw numbers so far from his Fulham stay look like this:
- 5 starts (all but on in Premier League)
- 1 appearance off the bench
- 0 goals
There is still time to turn this loaner frown upside down – but not much. He has two matches remaining in which to make an impact, to do something that would potentially launch an escape run for the small budget side that has managed to remain up recently, never mind the stacked odds of doing so over a long run.
Dempsey has played, more or less, every other match for Rene Meulensteen. As he didn’t make the lineup in Saturday’s helpful, perhaps even historic draw at Manchester United, look for Dempsey to feature Wednesday as Liverpool visits West London. (There’s a mid-week round of Premier League matches … ye fantasy players have been warned.)
After that, a match at West Brom is it. Then it’s back to the United States for the last few days of preseason work with Seattle.