Kick Off: Dempsey speaks out, unsure of role at Tottenham
Listen up. Deuce is finally talking.
On the eve of the USA’s World Cup qualifier against Jamaica, star forward Clint Dempsey finally spoke out about his arduous switch away from Fulham.
But he left more questions than answers. He didn’t address what really happened with Liverpool and says he doesn’t know what André Vilas-Boas wants from him at Tottenham or what role he'll play in the squad.
"You don't know. That's the gamble you take when you make a move to a new team," Dempsey said. "You don't know where you're going to fit in exactly, you don't know how you're going to gel."
Dempsey will also have to show Jurgen Klinsmann where he’s at from a fitness perspective when the US meet Jamaica on tonight in Kingston (8 pm ET, beINSport, live chat on MLSsoccer.com) in a crucial World Cup qualifier. He may yet start, but either way the US will have to deal with plenty of injury concerns.
Despite the picturesque surroundings they'll find in the island nation, one thing’s for certain, the US coach and his players aren’t in the Caribbean to soak up some rays and relax. Oh no, they mean business, and the stakes are high. The USMNT have never won a meaningful game away from home against Jamaica. Meanwhile, the Reggae Boyz have never defeated the US in any setting, a historical note that will have the home crowd hungry for three points.
After recording their first ever wins in Italy and Mexico in 2012, Dempsey’s confident the USMNT can pull off a third historic win this year: “We’re trying to do things that are special and try to qualify for the World Cup.”
Klinsmann also stepped back and spoke about offseason moves for many of his key players to “higher level teams.” He’s clearly delighted.
One man who won’t be representing the US in Jamaica, or any other place in the foreseeable future for that matter, is Timothy Chandler. The German-born wide man’s explanation after turning down yet another a call up to the squad: “A decision of the heart.”
MLSsoccer.com's Jonah Freedman took this view on Chandler’s stance, with rumblings of discontent widespread across the US soccer community as fans debate, “Which players are really American?”
Meanwhile, the Armchair Analyst gave this in-depth breakdown on what we can expect from the USA on Friday night.
Something US fans traveling to “The Office” will enjoy spotting, is the statue of the legendary Bob Marley outside the ground. Take a look at these amazing statues at soccer stadiums across the globe, including Carlos Valderrama, Zico and arguably the world’s greatest pop star.
Canada also have a huge qualifier on Friday night, as they host Panama at BMO Field in Toronto. (7:30 pm ET, Sportsnet). There will be no fewer than 12 MLSers on the pitch in Toronto, with Canadian fans buoyant after an unbeaten start to qualifying for the Canucks.
One of the breakout players of 2012 is Montreal’s Patrice Bernier, who spoke out about his role for Canada, despite being Montreal’s leading goalscorer: “It’s not my responsibility to score, I play in the midfield.”
Stepping back to domestic action and Houston displayed their playoff pedigree once more on Thursday night, with a last gasp win over RSL at BBVA Compass Stadium. Brad Davis missed a second-half PK but Colin Clark put that right in the 91st minute, scoring his spot kick to seal a 1-0 win for Houston. Watch highlights here.
RSL head coach Jason Kreis didn’t seem too happy with Nick Rimando after the goalkeeper conceded the last-minute PK: “I think we need to be honest with ourselves and say that Nick Rimando made a mistake.”
The Dynamo reshuffled their backline, with six players missing through international duty or injury, so Dominic Kinnear was understandably happy with the three points.
There’s only one more MLS game this weekend, as Seattle host Chivas USA on Saturday (4 pm ET, watch LIVE online). The Sounders will move into second spot in the West with a win and have been boosted by the news of having a key trio fit and available for selection.
Staying in Seattle, ‘keeper Michael Gspruning dropped in to chat with the guys on ExtraTime Radio on Thursday. He spoke about the Sounders postseason hopes at length.
The strong may be getting even stronger. San Jose have been trialing former EPL left back Jordan Stewart, who last played for Millwall in the English second tier.
Stewart featured for the second time this week on Thursday as the Quakes defeated San Luis FC 1-0 in an international exhibition match. Chris Wondolowski grabbed the late winner.
Up just over the border on the West Coast Vancouver have a big reason to celebrate after plans were announced to develop a huge new training facility for the ‘Caps and the national team in B.C.
Finally, there’s also plenty of action in Europe over the weekend as World Cup qualifying kicks off. LA Galaxy striker Robbie Keane captains Ireland as they make the mammoth journey east to take on Kazakhstan.
Keane said on Thursday that he’ll “never quit Ireland” while he’s still fit to play.
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