Sounders unveil Dempsey before win over FC Dallas

Dempsey - Edited                                                                                                  Credit: Rod Marr/Seattle Sounders FC

By JASON MITCHELL

SEATTLE – Just under seven years and 57 English Premier League goals after last playing in Major League Soccer, the captain of the United States Men’s National Team strode onto the pitch at CenturyLink Field on Saturday night, a Seattle Sounder of all things.

And, according to reports, not just a Sounder but also the man responsible for both the largest contract and the largest transfer fee in league history.

Wearing jeans and a hoodie he would later unzip to reveal a Sounders jersey, Clint Dempsey—who once fled a FieldTurf surface in an NFL stadium—emerged from the southwest tunnel minutes before the Sounders’ match against FC Dallas, giving the crowd of 39,360 a thumbs-up and pointing to fans as he made his way to a dais at midfield, flanked by Sounders brass.

At the dais, Sounders majority owner Joe Roth—wearing track pants, of course—playfully asked Dempsey if he had decided where he wanted to play. The now-former Tottenham man promptly removed his hoodie to reveal a No. 2 Seattle jersey and held aloft a Sounders scarf to a roar fans here usually reserve for game-winning goals late in the year.

The Jumbotron then played an abbreviated version of the Dempsey song “Don’t Tread” before the 30-year-old addressed the crowd.

“Seattle, I just want to thank you all and the Seattle Sounders organization for making me feel so at home,” he said. “I look forward to getting on the field and playing in front of some of the best fans in the world. I think we’ll accomplish some great things here. So once again, thank you.”

Dempsey next moved to a riser immediately in front of the supporters’ section, once again raising his scarf to start the match before departing as he came, stopping to sign a few balls and scarves along the way to the tunnel.

In a press release—the Sounders aren’t making Dempsey available until a Monday press conference—Dempsey added, “I am very excited about coming back to MLS and thrilled to be joining Sounders FC. Having recently played in Seattle with the national team, I experienced the incredible atmosphere and the passion from the supporters first-hand. It’s going to be an honor to represent the fans in Seattle.”

While pushing off most Dempsey questions until Monday, head coach Sigi Schmid did confirm after the match that Seattle’s newest Designated Player is ready to start practicing immediately.

“Clint will start training with us next week,” Schmid said. “He’s gone through part of preseason already with Tottenham. He’s a pretty fit guy. He’ll be ready to go.”

After the match, Dempsey’s new teammates seemed both excited and, like much of the soccer world, stunned by something that went from the wildest of “silly season” rumors to fact in a seeming heartbeat. It’s not every day, after all, an MLS team spends a reported $41 million on transfer and contract costs for a single player.

“It’s one of those where you never think it would happen,” said midfielder and USMNT teammate Brad Evans. “It’s almost like one of those ones where it’s almost a joke when you first hear about it. You first hear the rumblings, you hear about people going to Sea-Tac [Airport] and hanging out and it’s cool. It’s great for the game, the team. It’s great for MLS and [I'm] obviously looking forward to playing with him.”

“What a great contribution added to our team, and added to this league,” said Eddie Johnson. “You know every little kid in America wants to be like Clint [Dempsey]. We’re happy to have him here in Seattle.”

“It’s unbelievable to get a player of that quality who is still 30,” said goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann. An avid outdoorsman, Hahnemann added, “I have a new fishing buddy, so I’m excited.”

So, it seems, is all of Seattle.

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49 Responses to Sounders unveil Dempsey before win over FC Dallas

  1. Yusef says:

    That intro was pretty darn cheesy, but that’s consistent with MLS promotions. Would have loved to see Dempsey stay in Europe through the World Cup, but that dude has never disappointed on the field and the much less grueling and challenging season may leave him with more in the tank for the summer.

    • Eric says:

      You said it, Cheesy! It feels like an NBA production. The douche on the PA is too loud.

      Timbers match on the other hand, that’s authentic. It’s too bad Clint didnt get a chance to play in the Rose City. Jeld Wen is the real deal.

      • SydneySounder says:

        Is this from Portlandia?

      • Knuckles says:

        Wow. You are embarrassing yourself. Deuce is playing where he wanted to play. Accept it. You know, authentically.

      • scott47a says:

        It’s obvious to me that you aren’t really a Timbers supporter and are just trying to stir up trouble.
        Timbers fans have some real concerns – like not understanding the DP v. allocation rules of MLS. This comment is just a joke.

        • RAMONE says:

          The real problem is simply that MLS applies DP and allocation inconsistently. Then they come out with an explanation of the situation using Keane, Beckham and Henry as examples of how a DP signing works … yet none were former MLS players and none are even Americans, much less on the USMNT.

          I am not complaining at all that Seattle got this signing, it would be good for the league to have MUCH clearer rules though (or simply do away with the allocation process all together if Portland isn’t going to be offered at least the opportunity to sign a returning USMNT player no matter what his potential salary is going to be).

          Frankly, all I take away from this entire thing is that USMNT allocation order is pretty useless unless we are talking about a low salary player, so useless in fact that it is a little embarrassing that the Timbers traded anything of value to move up the order when they were trying to get Diskerud (who probably would have signed a DP contract anyway had he come to MLS, low end DP but DP nonetheless, making allocation order meaningless).

          MLS had better be absolutely consistent when teams make runs at Altadore, Bradley, Holden, Howard, Diskerud, Gomez, etc. (honestly I have no idea whether MLS rights are still held on any of them) and try to sign them to DP contracts … I don’t want to hear that they have to go through allocation. Just pay them $368,751 and circumvent the allocation rule.

    • AzTeXan says:

      You could even see the green collar peaking from under the sweat shirt.

    • Drew says:

      As a union fan I’m offended he thinks playing against our defense is the best way to prepare him for the World Cup. I enjoy mls but I love the USMNT and this is not good if all our offensive players are playing in MLS, a defensively weak league.

      • Yusef says:

        Fair point. I think we have a few attackers in Europe and a couple more in Mexico who will have big years. Clint will still be Clint, just not as fun for me to not see him doing it in London, Manchester, Liverpool and on the Continent in the Europa League.

      • Old School says:

        Yea, playing against questionable defenses certainly hasn’t worked in the favor of Altidore, right?

  2. Herbert @Boriuano says:

    Crap! I know according to reports Clint was going to sign with the Sounders but I was really hoping RBNY would some how steal the deal… Clint would have been the perfect replacement for Henry… Oh well, congrats to the Sounder fans, you guys definitely played a role with the singing with the obvious big money spending.

    • Ando says:

      Same here. Here could be the No. 10/ Attacking Midfielder/ Withdrawn Striker the team may need during playoff time. Oh well.

      So weird seeing him in Rave Green.

  3. DanO says:

    How do the sounders make Dempsey, martins, ej, and Rosales all fit? Can someone who’s more of a sounders fan fill me in?

    • ThaDeuce says:

      Great question here.

    • Ken Salazar says:

      I was wondering the same things. Is it a 442 with Dempsey, Martins up top, rosales behind them and EJ on the wing. Or 433with Dempsey Martins and EJ up to and rosales in the middle.

      • kcee says:

        Martins-EJ

        Brad-Dempsey-Ozzy-Mauro

        Leo-Djimi-Ianni-Yedlin

        Gspurning

        Dempsey more of an attacking mid,settling most times slightly ahead of the other mids. maybe even contemplating a 4-3-1-2 but doubtful it changes from a 4-4-2. Ozzy playing the holder/defender mid role which he already is probably the best at in the MLS.

        Brad/Mauro interchangeable. Mauro usually plays right wing who knows though. also Zak when he comes back, but he most likely will not be 100% until next year. I see Mauro and Neagle getting pinched a bit. Neagle moves in the third forward/fifth winger spot.

        • Knuckles says:

          Close. Neagle on the left, not Evans. He’s now the super-sub.

          • scott47a says:

            There is absolutely no way Brad Evans gets benched.
            I can’t believe how little respect that guy gets. Thankfully Sigi knows better.

    • Blacksmith says:

      A couple of options

      The first is a 4-4-2 with either EJ or Deuce playing LMF and the other playing up top with Oba. Rosales plays RMF and Evans and Alonso play the CMF roles. You could also see an option where Evans plays LMF and Deuce plays the attacking CMF. EJ plays wing with the Nats and both Evans and Deuce are flexible enough to play multiple roles. Oba has also shown a real penchant for playing a complete game in his time here. He’s not afraid to track back, play the holding role or assist his team mates.

      The second option is a 4-3-3 with EJ, Oba and Deuce up top and Evans, Alonso and Rosales in the second band.

      Regardless of which nominal formation the Sounders adopt while stationary at the start of a period, I expect that the in-game movement of the pieces will be very dynamic once Deuce and his team mates develop an understanding of each other. This line up should feature a lot of slashing diagonal movement, overlapping runs from the FBs and positional switching. It’s a line up that is tailor made to carve up defenses that hold a high line.

      I’ll be curious to see how they do against the bunker or against a physical team like SJ. The good news is that the team has already played both its games at Buck Shaw stadium this season. Will only face SJ there again if they meet in the playoffs.

    • DanO says:

      Thanks fellas. Should be interesting to see this all come together.

    • Troy says:

      That is easy. Dempsey is pretty much going to fill the void that has been there since Montero left. If you look at their hit zones from the last year they are almost complete mirrors of one another. So we let Montero go to Europe which people thought we couldnt replace easily. Now we have Dempsey who is light years better than Montero.

      Martins Johnson
      Dempsey
      Neagle/Evans/Zakuani Rosales/Evans
      Alonso
      Leo Traore Hurtado.Ianni/Scott Yedlin
      Gspurning

      • Troy says:

        I organized that was better look at it as a 4-4-2 or a 4-3-1-2 which I am sure it will look differently all the time and you can interchange the front 3 guys. Pretty much you are gonna have Neagle or Evans on the bench for sure, Zakuani on the bench, Hurtado or Ianni. Then young guys like Zavaleta, Servando, Rose, etc. providing depth

  4. Brad says:

    Who else thinks he’s red carded in the first 5 games? As much as I love him, he’s a whiner, a bit of a diver, and a hot head. It’s going to be interesting to see how he reacts to the physicality and reffing in the MLS bc that hasn’t changed much since the last time he was here. Then again, he may get a lot of calls and players may be afraid to touch him with that contract.

    • chris says:

      If Dempsey not being a p*ssy makes him a hot head then I want a team full of hot heads

    • ThaDeuce says:

      “what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”

      • ThaDeuce says:

        Why moderated?

        • Old School says:

          When Ives unveiled the new logo, Hobo Mike asked him point blank what they’re doing about the ridiculous moderation system.

          According to Ives, that’s their next objective…which is awesome to hear.

          • ThaDeuce says:

            Yes, this has been ridiculous. Every other comment is done that way to me. Hopefully they will get it resolved soon.

        • away goals says:

          Not sure, but I think that i-diot gets moderated. Which actually makes more sense than delaying posts with any iteration of a-ss.

      • Old School says:

        Sidenote: Now that we can see the post…one of my favorite clips of all time.

        That has me rolling with laughter each time.

  5. Lorenzo says:

    Great he didn’t come like McBride or Reyna, when they were loved and respected but couldn’t really be a star. He came at a time when he can actually light up the league for a few seasons and be a bonafide star. Maybe try to win CONCACAF Champions League or other titles. He’s played at a high level but hasn’t won any silverware at the club level.

    • malkin says:

      Would be nice if they were in Champions League this year and Clint could just jump right in.

      • Troy says:

        The Sounders were in the quarter or semi finals for this last CCL cycle and lost. Im sure that having Dempsey would have helped because he couldnt hurt but if Seattle can win MLS Cup then we will have our chance. People are saying that we are out of the playoffs and yes that is true for now but everyone ahead of us is going head to head or has the week off and we have at minimum two games in hand versus everyone in the west. Our PPM match has us ranked 3rd in the west. Plus we play Toronto this week for Dempsey’s debut which I would guess that he starts or comes on in the 2nd half. We should have been able to handle TFC without him but now a win is a must IMO

  6. WelcomeHomeDeuce says:

    This is a win-win all the way around.

    – For his family’s sake, being home is probably the best outcome and likely one of the most important reasons he came home.
    – He’s getting the same/more money to play at home. Many of our guys would stay home if they got paid.
    – With Seattle, he has a chance to win a title. This year it could be MLS cup. In future years, Champions League and US Open cup too. Any european team he would have gone to … not so much.
    – Seattle is brimming with offensive talent around him. He does not need to be the savior.
    – He’s a much better fit in Sigi’s system than he would be for AVB. AVB is working on building teh team in “his” image. Just look at all the guys getting jettisoned out of White Hart Lane.
    – Most importantly, he’s gonna play. As US MNT fan, I want to see him play and not be a super-sub or languishing on the bench at Tottenham.

    Relax US fans, we’re gonna be fine. Clint’s gonna be fine. We’re gonna go to Brazil. What you should be asking yourself is “Where do we find the next Clint & Landon”? We damn sure need more like them on the NT.

  7. Kosh says:

    Welcome back, Clint. Thanks for playing a role in helping take our league to the next level.

  8. eddie says:

    Great news for the MLS and ups the expertise level for Sounders.

  9. Old School says:

    For me, most exciting signing ON THE FIELD by the league in it’s history.

  10. Joamiq says:

    Anyone have a link to video of the unzipping?

  11. KJ says:

    That field, though…

  12. Charles says:

    For all the guys whining about MLS. Does Dempsey make the MLS best XI ?

    Legit question, not a troll comment…..I absolutely LOVE Dempsey.
    Depending on where he plays, Henry, Keane, DiViao, even a guy on his team ( and I am not thinking EJ ), young Americans crushing it….they all are thinking they can play too.

    Again, I LOVE Dempsey, but to think that he is going to destroy MLS without a ton of hard work and saying at a top level is simply put stu pid and niave.