TUKWILA, Wash. — To say Clint Dempsey’s tenure with the Seattle Sounders hasn’t gone as planned is probably an understatement.
A combination of injuries and international call-ups have limited Dempsey to five appearances and three starts for his club since signing on Aug. 3. In his 355 minutes, he has yet to score a goal or record an assist, although the Sounders have gone 7-1-2 since that time.
“It’s difficult,” Dempsey said about trying to adapt to a new team while being available so infrequently. “Yeah, I’d like to be playing in more games. You can’t control the injuries that you get. But at the same time, I’d rather have an injury like I had this last time than something else that keeps me out longer.
"I’m just going to work in the gym and come back stronger and make sure that when I am coming back, I’m going to be 100 percent and hit the ground running.”
A hamstring injury has kept Dempsey out of the Sounders' last two games, but US national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann indicated this week that Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid expects Dempsey to be available for Saturday’s game against the Colorado Rapids (10 pm ET, NBCSN). And that apparently means he will miss more time with the Sounders as a result.
"I have spoken to Sigi a couple of times, and they expect him back on the weekend, and therefore we expect him back in camp on Sunday," Klinsmann told reporters prior to Tuesday's US Open Cup final.
That may not be what the Sounders were hoping to hear, as not only would Dempsey miss a pair of Cascadia Cup matches, but such back and forth may increase the risk of another injury. In fact, it may have contributed to Dempsey's hamstring problems to begin with.
“I think it was just the workload,” Dempsey said when asked if he knew how he hurt his hamstring. “I think it got to be too much with the travel, with all the games, and not really having a full preseason under a team, just kind of jumping right in and hit the ground running as best as you can with players who are already more than halfway into their season.
"And having a target on your back, being a name player coming in, people don’t want you to do well against them, but at the same time they’re going to be excited to do what they can against you. I just have to keep working hard and make sure I’m looking after my body. I was trying to push through some stuff, and ultimately I think it caused me to take a step backward. Sometimes you have to be a little bit smarter.”