Seattle Sounders' Clint Dempsey encouraged by scoring performance, insists there's more to come
But there was an undeniably positive development: Dempsey looked much more like the player who scored more goals in England than any other American and became a star on the international stage.
"It's bittersweet,” Dempsey told reporters following the game. “It feels good to have contributed in a positive way, but at the same time we're not happy with the result. I thought we did a better job in the second half moving the ball. They kind of sat back and we're trying to grind out the three points. I thought we created some good chances, we just weren't able to get the equalizer goal."
The highlight of Dempsey’s performance was his 68th-minute goal in which he took a pass from Obafemi Martins, settled it and rifled a shot inside the near post. Dempsey now has a goal and an assist in two games, equalling his production over the previous 19 club appearances.
Although his boisterous celebration seemed to hint at a certain amount of pressure being lifted, Dempsey insisted that was not the case.
"I don't look at it like that,” he said about scoring his first goal in more than four months. “I keep the same mindset. I keep going out, working hard and trying to get as many goals as possible. Every game out I'm trying to score. Whether I score the game before, I'm always wanting to score or create chances and trying to put other people on to goals, get assists, and stuff like that.
“We just have to keep moving forward. So far I'm happy with the first two games in terms of getting a goal and an assist, but I have to keep pushing and there is more to come."
Dempsey did, however, admit to some irritation over the Sounders suffering 25 fouls, tying a franchise record that was set in the season opener.
"I think everybody was getting frustrated,” Dempsey said. “I think from a fan’s perspective it's not fun to watch a game with that many stoppages, and also for the spectators at home watching the game. When you see it just being stop, start, stop, start, foul, foul, foul it's definitely frustrating for everybody."
That state of mind may have also contributed to an off-the-ball incident in which Dempsey hit Mark Bloom in the groin area.
“To be honest with you, I felt a hand on my back,” Dempsey explained. “I tried to hit it away and thought I was hitting his hand away. I understand that maybe I did catch him a little bit. I apologized to him about that, but for me, all I was trying to do was smack his hand free from touching my back.”