Good news for the Seattle Sounders, who are pretty short on their difference-makers at the worst possible time – but who did see Clint Dempsey get into the starting lineup today at FC Dallas.
Nothing was certain, as the league’s highest paid man has dealt lately with hamstring and shoulders issues. He played last week for more than hour with a bum shoulder, suffered during a tumble early against Portland. (It seems like a shoulder; the Sounders are being quite secretive about whatever had their DP striker all hang-armed last week at Jeld-Wen.)
Dempsey did get into the starting 11 as Sigi Schmid used his 37th different lineup in 38 matches (in all competitions), which included sticking with Marcus Hahnemann in goal.
Dempsey played as a striker alongside Lamar Neagle in a 4-4-2, as the Sounders were forced to deal with life minus two other high-profile strikers, Eddie Johnson and Obafemi Martins, neither of whom made the gameday roster.
So, how did he do? Meh.
He had one half-chance in the 38th minute, but put a hurried volley well high. Thing is, there wasn’t much going on in Seattle’s offense.
With the Sounders missing Osvaldo Aloso (due to suspension), their connections out of the midfield weren’t sharp. Mauro Rosales, the team’s top playmaker, was a bit slow in his passing, once failed to see a sharp Dempsey run into a great space until it was too late.
Dempsey was actually a little lucky to remain on the field midway through the first half. Fouled from behind by Peter Luccin, the Texas native – whose first connection to professional soccer was training with FC Dallas back in high school days – kicked out at the home team’s midfielder. Players have certainly been thrown out for the same, some even famously so. Or doesn’t anyone remember a young David Beckham getting tossed from a 1998 World Cup contest for the most benign of kick-outs at an Argentine player?
(The game is at halftime, tied at 0-0, at the time of this posting.)