This is the photo that I remember Clint Dempsey when he was just starting out his National Team career. I remember him scoring that goal against Ghana to level the match at one. The fire, the passion and the glory of making it to the biggest stage of International Football. We all knew back in his day with the New England Revolution that he wanted to leave MLS and perform in Europe and he got his shot with Fulham of the English Premiership.
Everytime he got called up to the National Team he has answered the call and showed what he can do on the field. Always in the right position to give the USA a lead or a game winning goal. But there has been times that Dempsey did look a bit unmotivated playing for his country and sadly the four matches from the World Cup Qualifiers in Costa Rica till the loss against Brazil in group play of the Confederations Cup is what most of us American supporters saw was Dempsey not performing up to his standards and that means not looking to bring out his passion. I understand he’s not going to score in every single match he plays for the National Team, but it doesn’t mean he has to force himself to bring out that passion for no reason.
All of a sudden the message from the new media and the supporters of US Soccer got to Dempsey’s ear. Even I was critical of him and I had every reason to be. If he felt he was being put out of position then he should’ve taken issue with Bob Bradley and I honestly don’t believe that Bob would ignore him. But with that being said Clint Dempsey had to show his fire again to prove not just for himself, but to all of us that wants him to give it his all. I honestly saw signs of that fire returning against Egypt slowly. He worked himself into good positions to create chances and when Jonathan Spector was on the near side of the field and crossed a looping ball, it was headed in by Deuce. That goal along with the help Brazil gave us by scoring three and allowed none to Italy put us into the Semi-Finals against Spain.
The miracle on grass as they say when the boys defeated Spain, you saw Dempsey ready to go to work on the number one ranked side in the world. Getting involved in the play, that pass to Jozy Altidore that was blocked originally but had enough pace to get to Altidore. The turn, the burst of speed and the rip by Altidore was all in thanks to Dempsey for setting him up. The goal he scored in the 74th minute against Spain, what quick thinking that was of him to not over run the defensive line and sneaking in behind Sergio Ramos to sweep the ball in for the two goal cushion.
Finally the first goal against Brazil ten minutes in. Perfect position by Dempsey, nice right leg mid air sweep to get just enough of a touch on the ball to get by Julio Cesar and we all thought the start of something wonderful was going to happen. He looked like a hungry wolf ready to pounce on his prey everytime he was in Brazil’s area, that is the Clint Dempsey I know and love. Trying to score, fighting for every ball, putting himself into position for something and anything positive.
I have been very critical of him for the past couple of weeks. I admit it, because I felt he wasn’t showing up for the US Shield. I understand it’s a long season in England, but there is no excuse for him to act like a wanderer without a care on the field. I can now say that he is back and that he has proven me wrong. He does care and he does want to win for the USA.
To Clint Dempsey may I say that I apologize to you for being so harsh & overly critical of your play on the field. Your performence in these last three matches have made me believe in you again, but I must admit seeing you break down in tears after recieveing the bronze ball for scoring showed me that you do want to earn your place and caring for the National Team. Good luck in the match against Mexico on August 12th Clint, we need you badly.