Getty Images

Dempsey scores first goal of season, Sounders tie Fire

Leave a comment

SEATTLE (AP) Clint Dempsey scored his first goal of the season to match the Seattle regular-season career goals record, helping the Sounders tie the Chicago Fire 1-1 on Saturday night.

Dempsey tied the club record for regular-season goals with 47 set by Fredy Montero from 2009-12. It was Dempsey’s 57th goal across all competitions for the Sounders, three away from Montero’s overall mark.

Harry Shipp started the scoring play for the Sounders (3-8-3) midway through the first half, taking the ball up the attacking right side. He sent it ahead to Will Bruin, who took it to the top right corner of the 6-yard box. Bruin tapped the ball across, and Dempsey slid into it, sending his shot into the upper left side.

It was Dempsey’s first goal since last Nov. 30, when he scored in a 3-0 win over Houston in the second leg of the Western Conference final. His last regular-season tally was last Sept. 27 in a 3-0 victory over Vancouver in Seattle.

Chicago (5-7-5) went up 1-0 in the ninth minute. Brandt Bronico backheeled a pass to Aleksander Katai, who took control about 35 yards up from the goal. He dribbled up to the top left of the penalty area restraining arc and fired a shot past Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei to the back right corner for his sixth of the year.

McKennie, Adams, Miazga in top tier of US Soccer player pool

Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images
2 Comments

CHESTER, Pa. (AP) Midfielders Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams have played their way onto the top tier of the U.S. player pool along with defender Matt Miazga, according to interim coach Dave Sarachan, who says the trio would receive strong consideration for a World Cup roster if the Americans were headed to Russia in June.

[ MORE: Bayern 1-2 Real Madrid ]

With the U.S. rebuilding following its failure to qualify for the tournament, Sarachan will continue to rely on youth for upcoming exhibitions against Bolivia, Ireland and France.

Veterans such as Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard, Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley could have a role either in friendlies this autumn or when competitive matches resume in the summer of 2019.

“I do think those guys, some of them, will factor in, in terms of the Gold Cup, in terms of the next round of qualifying,” Sarachan said Wednesday. “I think it would be important to bring some of those veterans guys back.”

Dempsey, who turned 35 last month, is tied with Landon Donovan for the U.S. record of 57 international goals.

“The older guys, they’re valuable in the succession of everything, to mentor, to show these young guys what it really takes and what it is to be a part of the national team,” Sarachan said. “But as far as that goes, you know, sometimes a tie is all right, right? Share the spoils.”

Christian Pulisic, the Americans’ 19-year-old star midfielder, will be on the roster for the May 28 match against Bolivia in the Philadelphia suburbs. Pulisic, who is from Hershey, Pennsylvania, has not played for the national team since the 2-1 loss at Trinidad and Tobago in October that eliminated the U.S. from World Cup contention.

While U.S. training starts May 21, Pulisic will report late so he can remain with Borussia Dortmund for a postseason exhibition at LAFC on May 22.

“He was pretty gutted after that game,” Sarachan said of the loss in Trinidad. “There’s a lot of demands of a guy like Christian. He’s being pulled in a lot of different directions. There’s still some speculation – this didn’t come from him directly – but I know that there’s some speculation that maybe he’ll move from Dortmund. So I know there’s a lot going on. And I’m trying to be helpful in the process to allow him a little wiggle room in terms of the national team now.”

Josh Sargent, the 18-year-old forward who joined Werder Bremen this year, also will be on the roster. The U.S. plays at Ireland on June 2 and at France on June 9, and Sarachan said many Europe-based players may skip the Bolivia match.

Sarachan was the top assistant to Bruce Arena, who quit after the U.S. failed to qualify. Sarachan would like to be considered for the job going forward, but new U.S. Soccer Federation President Carlos Cordeiro plans to first hire a general manager for the men’s national team, a new position.

“I would only be guessing at this point if it’s someone in place before or after the World Cup,” Sarachan said of the GM.

The 63-year-old Sarachan coached Cornell from 1988-97 and the Chicago Fire from 2002-07. He does not consider himself to be an interim coach.

“I don’t like that term personally. I hate using the word interim,” he said. “I’m the men’s national soccer coach until they tell me I’m not. I’m not naive to think that I’m a slam-dunk candidate or not. I try not to even think through that other than at some point I have to figure out my next move if it’s not going to be this.”

Since World Cup elimination, the U.S. has played a road draw at Portugal and home ties against Bosnia-Herzegovina and Paraguay. Sarachan has given national team debuts to nine players, including Adams, McKennie, defender Cameron Carter-Vickers, forward Andrija Novakovich and midfielder Tim Weah – son of former FIFA Player of the Year and current Liberia President George Weah.

“I feel since November, when you could arguably say it was rock bottom in terms of U.S. soccer and the perception of it, I’d like to think that there’s a little more hope, a little more hope with the program, the direction we’re going, with the exciting young talent that’s emerging,” he said. “And that makes me feel proud, because I think the work kind of speaks for itself at this point, meaning young guys are getting great minutes.”

Clint Dempsey has suspension extended, will miss Sporting KC match

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren
Leave a comment

The Seattle Sounders will be without one of their key attacking players for yet another week, as Clint Dempsey‘s suspension has been extended by Major League Soccer.

The MLS Disciplinary Committee announced on Thursday that the veteran forward would miss this weekend’s clash against Sporting KC stemming from a red card incident that occurred on March 18 against FC Dallas.

Dempsey was shown a red card in the match, after elbowing Jacori Hayes in the chest during a first-half sequence inside the Dallas penalty area.

The suspension already forced the U.S. Men’s National Team player to miss the Sounders’ 1-0 defeat to the Montreal Impact two weeks ago. However, the club reportedly wasn’t surprised by MLS’ decision to extend Dempsey’s suspension.

The Sounders are the only team left in MLS that have yet to take a point from any match in 2018.

Seattle 1-0 Chivas: Dempsey gives Sounders advantage

Getty Images
1 Comment

A Clint Dempsey second half goal gave the Seattle Sounders a one-goal advantage over Chivas de Guadalajara as the sides head into next week’s CONCACAF Champions League second leg in Mexico.

In the 78th minute, Henry Wingo was played into space down the right wing, and the local product centered the ball to the oncoming Dempsey, who timed his run perfectly and slotted home past Chivas goalkeeper Rodolfo Cota.

[MORE: TFC comes back to top Tigres in CCL action]

Chivas had chances to score throughout the match but Stefan Frei and the Sounders backline – which had a healthy Chad Marshall back in the lineup – shut the door on the Mexican side.

After a weekend in which few U.S. Men’s National Team-eligible players featured across MLS starting lineups, the Sounders sent out six American starters and brought three more off the bench.

18-year-old sensation Handwalla Bwana, a Homegrown signing like Wingo, made his first Sounders start and caused the Chivas defense a lot of problems with his speed and dribbling ability.

U.S. Soccer names Player of the Year nominees

Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
Leave a comment

We suppose it doesn’t matter all that much given the presumptive winner, but the five nominees for the United States male soccer player of the year lead to a bit of head-scratching.

Christian Pulisic, of course, is going to win the awards hands-down after an exceptional year, one of the rare stars in Stars and Stripes to not let down the USMNT in World Cup qualifying.

The men competing for spots Nos. 2-5? Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore, Jordan Morris, and Clint Dempsey. Of the three, only Morris has failed to win it before (which is not exactly a failure considering his young age).

[ MORE: Premier League Player Power Rankings ]

In terms of national team play, Bradley led the U.S. in minutes with 1,198 in 2017, with Dempsey’s five goals and four assists only bested by Pulisic’s six and four. Altidore scored four goals with three assists, while Morris has four goals and an assist.

Who can feel the most burnt? Well, DeAndre Yedlin for one, though he only played in six caps thanks to the U.S. going B side for the Gold Cup. Graham Zusi and Geoff Cameron would love shouts, but were limited in playing time.

Here’s a trivia *fun* fact: Can you name the USMNT’s Top Five minute men this season, including No.1  Bradley? Jorge Villafana is second, Darlington Nagbe third, Omar Gonzalez fourth, and Tim Howard fifth.

The Young Male Award, which cannot be won twice, is down to Josh Sargent, Tim Weah, Tyler Adams, Luca de la Torre,  Jonathan Gonzalez, and Erik Palmer-Brown.

Up for the women’s award? Julie Ertz, Alex Morgan, Lindsey Horan, Samantha Mewis, and Megan Rapinoe. Becky Sauerbrunn piled up a team-high 16 matches, tied with Mewis, and probably got the short end of the stick thanks to Rapinoe playing a more glamorous position.