American footballers have not exactly had a banner 2008 in Europe. But Clint Dempsey, once discarded by Fulham’s old school manager Roy Hodgson, has revitalized his fortunes most notably in yesterday’s 2-2 draw with Chelsea at Craven Cottage. Dempsey’s return to form creates more options for Bob Bradley in the attack when the US faces Mexico in February. For much of 2008 Dempsey looked like he was overworked, jetting back and forth from a relegation challenged club team to a national team that was overaly reliant on him for creating offense.
But now with Jozy Altidore and Kenny Cooper being integrated into the national team, and a confident Landon Donovan playing well for both club and country, Dempsey can shoulder less of the burden and be more effective for the national team. With Fulham chasing a European place instead of relegation this season, Dempsey should be more relaxed when being forced to travel great lengths to join up with the national team.
Dempsey is peaking at the right time in the World Cup cycle for the US National Team. As the Hexagonal begins and Mexico looms you want your best players performing at the highest level. The majority of Mexico’s key players are currently on better clubs than the top American players but few if any are having the impact Dempsey has recently.