Clint Dempsey during his first Seattle Sounders training
Courtesy of Seattle Sounders

Clint Dempsey trains for first time with Seattle Sounders, diagnosis improves for weekend debut

TUKWILA, Wash. — It was a day later than expected, but Clint Dempsey made his full training debut with the Seattle Sounders on Wednesday.

Although he was apparently still suffering a bit from the after-effects of the virus that kept him out of Tuesday’s training, the US national team captain was able to get through the entire session and said he expects to make his playing debut against Toronto FC on Saturday (7 pm ET, watch on MLS LIVE).

“I’m feeling better,” Dempsey told reporters. “It felt good to get out in training, get a good sweat.

“The level was good, there’s a lot of quality on this team and I’m just looking forward to making the team better and helping the team do well.”

Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said he had intended to let Dempsey decide how much of training the player wanted to go through and seemed pleasantly surprised that he continued through each phase.

“He’s going to be pretty tired this afternoon,” Schmid said. “Tomorrow is a travel day for us, so it ends up being a little bit of a recovery day. Hopefully, he’ll get some food into him and feel much better on Friday.”

Considering he hasn’t really trained for more than a week and his body is still in preseason mode, Dempsey still looked sharp. The team participated in some short-sided games, with their newest Designated Player scoring several goals including a game-winner right at the end of the session.

Dempsey clearly left an impression on his new teammates.

“He finishes everything,” Sounders right back DeAndre Yedlin said. “There was a drill and Sigi was telling us to go in for rebounds. I was his partner and I didn’t even get in for rebounds because it was going to go in anyway. There was no point even going in for it because he finishes everything. I’ve never really seen anything like that.”