Gringo Abroad (Retrospective): Clint Dempsey

Football - Fulham v Juventus UEFA Europa League Third Round Second Leg

Fulham 4 – Juventus 1

Europa League Mar-18-2010

In March, Clint Dempsey returned from an almost two-month injury layoff.  The Texan, in only his third game since returning, announced his fitness quite memorably.

Match Summary

Needing multiple goals following a first-leg 3-1 Europa League defeat in Italy, London-side Fulham could not have had a worse start against Juventus. Fulham, playing at home, conceded a goal to David Trezeguet in the 2nd minute. The Londoners did pull even through a Bobby Zamora goal in the 9th, but they didn’t begin to have the lion’s share of possession until a 27th minute red card was issued to Fabio Cannavaro, Italy’s national team captain and one of the most experienced defenders in the world. After Cannavaro’s dismissal, the match favored Fulham the rest of the way. Goals from Zoltan Gera (39, after clever build-up play in the box, and 47, off a penalty) tied the aggregate score at 4-4 and a Clint Dempsey chip (82nd) ensured that Fulham would advance to the quarterfinals.

American Performance

Clint Dempsey once again proves himself a man of the moment. Manager Roy Hodgson did not trust Dempsey with a start (probably due to fitness issues – Dempsey recently returned from injury and played 71 minutes against Manchester United just 4 days ago), but Fulham fans will never forget his impact as a substitute. Deuce entered in the 70th minute and partnered up top with Bobby Zamora. He played a number of nice passes as he began to get acclimated to the game, even putting a header on target that the goalkeeper, Antonio Chimenti, could only push away. His goal in the 82nd was pure class. After an attack looked to have petered out, Clint turned on his defender and, from just outside the box, chipped the ball into the opposite corner of the net, leaving the keeper no chance. Following his goal, he worked hard in defense to help snuff out the few attacks Juventus had left.

National Team Implications

Never leave Clint Dempsey out of the lineup. Ever. Play him as a forward or midfielder. Just make sure he is on the field. This was but one goal of many that demonstrate his ability to place balls in the net when it counts. He was the only American to score in the 2006 World Cup, saved Fulham from relegation with a goal in the second-to-last game of the season in 2007, and scored the first goal of last summer’s Confederations Cup final. There is no reason to suppose he won’t produce similar heroics in the upcoming World Cup.

Update

Dempsey, due to a thigh injury suffered a few weeks after this game, has not played since April 4th.

One Comments Post a Comment
  1. AG says:

    I played against Dempsey once. I’d like to think I remember doing a move on him. Outside of that, I really have no other claim to fame :)

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