Clint Dempsey comes full circle

The Deuce is loose! Clint ‘Deuce’ Dempsey, the current U.S. national team captain, returned to MLS after a six-year spell in the English Premier League. The 30-year-old Dempsey, who scored 12 goals in 43 games last Premiership season at London’s Tottenham Hotspurs and still at the top of his game, surprised everyone with his move last week to the Seattle Sounders.

Dempsey, who left the New England Revolution in 2006 after a two-year stint to join Fulham FC in the Premiership in 2007, is considered the most successful American to play in England. At Fulham, he scored 50 goals in 184 matches.

“I was a little bit surprised about it, sure. Because it is an interesting step career wise at a point in time where you would kind of maybe question that,” former U.S. national team goalkeeper and current Sounders TV analyst Kasey Keller said before Saturday’s announcement. “But when you look more at the details and who is involved and what we’re talking about financially it all kind of comes into place.”

The details Keller refers to involve a whopping salary that could make Dempsey the highest paid player in the league and a desire to bring his family back to America. Dempsey reportedly will make between $6 and $8 million dollars over the next three years.

Dempsey, who could have found work with another English Premier League club, is giving up playing at the highest level, which includes participation in the European Champions League, the richest and most prestigious club tournament in the game. He is also leaving one of the most competitive leagues in the game, where he would have world-class competition weekly, which every player needs to stay at the top of his game.

“I’m happy for him. It’s good for the league having a player like Clint come back at a young age who still has many more years of soccer left in him,” Seattle forward Eddie Johnson said. “It just shows you where soccer is in this country having guys like that come back says a lot about how much the league has grown, how much better the soccer is here in America. It’s only going to attract many other good football players throughout the world.”

Sounders management was elated. ‘’This is a historic day for Sounders FC and our fans,’’ Sounders majority owner Joe Roth said in a release. ‘’Clint is a world-class soccer player who can take this club to a higher level. We have been consistent in our message to the fans that we will spare no expense to win trophies.”

“I think we’ll accomplish some great things here, so thank you,” Dempsey told the roaring Seattle fans during Saturday’s introduction before the Sounders game.

RED BULLS LEAD CONFERENCE

The New York Red Bulls (11-7-5, 38 pts.) is now atop the MLS Eastern Conference Standings after its 3-2 win last Saturday at Sporting Kansas City (10-7-6, 36 points). A sold-out crowd of 21,304 fans saw the Lloyd Sam-led Red Bulls pull off a rear upset at Sporting Park. Sporting Kansas City is in second place.

Sam, voted MLS Player of the Week, had an assist on the winning goal and also scored to secure the victory. The Red Bulls took the lead in the 27th minute when Jonny Steele took a pass from Dax McCarty and beat Kansas City goal keeper Jimmy Nielsen at the near left post; minutes before the haft time whistle, forward Kai Kamara equalized for the home team.

At the start of the second half, with the game tied at 1-1, the stage was set for substitute midfielder Sam. The former Leeds United (England) speedster entered the game in the 60th minute for midfielder Eric Alexander and proceeded to assist on Fabian Espindola’s winning goal in the 63rd minute. Sam scored his second goal of the season in the 69th minute, before leaving the game in the 87th with a thigh injury. Sporting Kansas City pulled a goal back in stoppage time when Dom Dwyer headed in a Kamara cross.

In other Eastern Conference games, Jaime Castrillon scored the tying goal in the 70th minute to help the Colorado Rapids to a 2-2 draw against Real Salt Lake and extended their unbeaten streak to seven games. DC United seem to be turning the season around with wins lately; Conor Doyle and Jared Jeffrey each scored to lead D.C. United to a 3-1 victory over the Montreal Impact. Luis Silva also scored for United (3-15-4), who snapped a five-game winless streak. Jed Brovsky scored his first career goal for the Impact (10-6-5). ,

Mike Magee, a candidate for the 2013 MLS MVP award, scored his league-leading 14th goal to carry the Chicago Fire to a 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Union. Magee scored a goal in his third straight game and has eight goals in 10 games since his trade from the Los Angeles Galaxy. Patrick Nyarko also added a goal and an assist for the Fire (8-9-4).

Brad Davis, Will Bruin and Cam Weaver scored for the Houston Dynamo in a 3-1 Dynamo win over the Columbus Crew. Davis put the Dynamo (9-6-6) ahead 1-0 in the 10th minute from the penalty spot after Giles Barnes was fouled in the penalty area by Chad Marshall. Bruin extended the lead, 2-0, in the 31st minute from an Oscar Boniek Garcia assist. Columbus (6-11-5) goal came from and own-goal from Houston’s Kofi Sarkodie.

In the Western Conference, Chris Wondolowski scored twice to lead the San Jose Earthquakes over Chivas USA, 2-0. Wondolowski’s goals came in the 45th and 87th minutes. Chivas USA (4-13-5) is winless in its last 10 road games.

Eddie Johnson scored his fifth goal of the season and Obafemi Martins also scored to lead the Seattle Sounders over FC Dallas 3-0. The Portland Timbers and the Vancouver Whitecaps played to a 1-1 draw in Portland’s league-leading 11th tie. Jordan Harvey scored the equalizer for the Whitecaps in the 68th minute after Ryan Johnson put the Timbers ahead in the 48th. The Timbers (8-3-11) are second place in the Western Conference, while the Whitecaps (9-7-6) are in a tie for fourth.

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