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)

Matic: Man Utd needs more experience in its squad

AP Photo/Tim Ireland
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Nemanja Matic would like to see a bit more veteran bravery in his Manchester United side.

The title-winning 29-year-old midfielder finished second in the Premier League this season, his first with the Red Devils after a strong run with Chelsea.

[ MORE: Man Utd youngster gets USMNT call-up ]

The Blues beat United in Saturday’s FA Cup Final, and Matic says the answer to winning hardware isn’t in talent as much as it is wisdom.

From the BBC:

“The only team who is better than us this year is Man City,” said Matic. “Obviously, they play amazing football. But we are second and we are in the Champions League next year, which is the most important thing. I think we need some players with some experience to bring some more qualities to our team.”

United loses one veteran cog in Michael Carrick, and both Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Wayne Rooney have skipped town in the last year.

Who could fit the bill in terms of old hats in current United positions of weakness? Well, a full offseason for Alexis Sanchez will help, and perhaps the rumors of Toby Alderweireld make the most sense of any we’ve seen in recent weeks.

MLS Things: Shuttleworth, Quintero somehow get Loons a point vs. SKC

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Entering the day, no one was arguing that hosts Minnesota United were a better side than Sporting KC.

The Loons were 11 points and 19 goals worth of differential behind Western Conference-leading KC.

[ MORE: Other MLS Things — The Archive ]

They still are, despite a 1-1 Sunday match which carried a fitting disparity on the pitch but nothing to separate the two on the scoreboard.

Khiry gets his just desserts

Oregon State product Khiry Shelton has been wonderful for Sporting KC this season, but the striker just hasn’t found the back of the goal.

That finally changed Sunday, when his downbound header got the better of Bobby Shuttleworth — more on him later — and allowed him a richly-deserved first SKC goal which could well break down the dam.

The eighth minute saw Shelton score his goal on one of just six Loons shot attempts.

Shuttleworth back in business

It’s not always sexy to go to the veteran backstop, but it looks like Adrian Heath should’ve called Bobby Shuttleworth’s name a long time ago.

Entering the day, Shuttleworth had the second-best WhoScored.com rating of any goalkeeper to appear in more than five matches (Evan Bush).

While certainly part of that has to do with the defensive actions foisted upon him, Shuttleworth was the main reason SKC’s 24-6 advantage in attempts failed to turn into anything other than a point.


Darwin Quintero has had more good matches than bad ones since joining the Loons, and added his third goal in seven matches with this rebound finish on Sunday.

Quintero had two goals and four assists in 17 Liga MX matches, but has been perfectly revitalized by the Minnesota air.

VIDEO: Coutinho scores brilliant curler; Iniesta walks off

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It’s often funny to read the A. in front of Andres Iniesta’s surname on his match jersey, as if there’s any other.

On Sunday, the 34-year-old midfielder walked off the field for the last time (video at bottom) as a Barcelona player, handing the captain’s arm band to Lionel Messi and beginning a new era for both the club and player.

[ MORE: Bayern salutes Heynckes (again) ]

Barcelona beat Real Sociedad 1-0 on Sunday in the final La Liga match of the season.

While the match will be remembered as Iniesta’s last with Blaugranas, Philippe Coutinho gave a glimpse of the future with his eighth goal of the season and sixth in his last five games.

Barca finishes a 1-loss season with 99 goals and a 14-point lead over La Liga runners-up Atletico Madrid.

Bayern Munich fans pay tribute to Jupp Heynckes, again

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MUNICH (AP) Bayern Munich fans turned up in their thousands to bid farewell to Jupp Heynckes for a second time on Sunday.

The veteran coach is going back into retirement after leading Bayern to another league title. The side was five points adrift when he returned in October, but rebounded to wrap up the title with five rounds to spare.

[ MORE: Pellegrini to WHU inches closer ]

It might have been more for Heynckes, but Eintracht Frankfurt stunned the side to win the German Cup final on Saturday and Real Madrid emerged triumphant from the sides’ Champions League semifinal.

Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge paid tribute to the 73-year-old Heynckes for bringing “old values” such as “humanity and empathy” back to the side.

“The little downside for us is that we would have liked to give our Jupp, our coach, the nearly perfect finish, but it didn’t quite work out,” Rummenigge said of the shock defeat to Frankfurt.

Heynckes led Bayern to the Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup titles in his previous stint in 2013, before he retired for the first time.

Bayern’s players were clearly still disappointed over Saturday’s cup defeat as they celebrated the league win on the Munich town hall balcony.

“It feels really bad, how the season ended,” said Thomas Mueller, who added that the team would try to “put a brave face on it.”