Fantasy Lamar Neagle

MLS Fantasy: Whose numbers will drop now that Clint Dempsey is with the Seattle Sounders?

With the recent acquisition of US men's national team and former Tottenham Hotspur striker Clint Dempsey, the Seattle Sounders have solidified themselves as one of the most (if not the most) dangerous attacking threats in all of MLS ... on paper. Even though the addition of Dempsey should make the team better, it still remains to be seen exactly how he'll fit into the attack.

Here's a look at the current leaders in goals scored for the Seattle Sounders, along with a few other offensive statistics.

2013 Invididual Stats

Player Goals Assists Total Shots Shooting % Chances Created
Obafemi Martins 7 2 23 52% 10
Lamar Neagle 5 3 24 58% 20
Eddie Johnson 5 0 30 53% 14
Brad Evans 3 5 24 38% 16
Mauro Rosales 2 5 9 44% 29

Head coach Sigi Schmid has consistently lined up in a 4-4-2 formation for all 20 MLS games this season. In an ideal pre-Dempsey (injury-free) world, his front six would be Lamar Neagle, Brad Evans, Osvaldo Alonso and Mauro Rosales in midfield, with Obafemi Martins and Eddie Johnson occupying the two positions up top. This is exactly how they lined up last week and we all saw what happened then: a 3-0 route over FC Dallas.

So where does Deuce fit in?

With everyone healthy and in form the only logical answer is to bench Neagle (above). However, based on his numbers this season, one could argue that he's actually been Seattle's best player. Neagle has proven to be extremely versatile this season, producing goals as both a striker and a midfielder. Just look what he's done so far.

  • Five goals and three assists in 16 appearances (13 starts)
  • All five of his goals were scored at CenturyLink Field
  • When he scores, Seattle are undefeated
  • Seattle are 7-3-3 when he starts

Even though I disagree with the benching of Neagle, adding Dempsey to the team really leaves Schmid with no other choice. Taking that kind of production off the field means that Dempsey now has even bigger shoes to fill. The problem with replacing Dempsey for Neagle is that it isn't a clean swap.

Throughout his career, Dempsey has become a dominant force on the attacking side of the ball. Some people even consider him a striker, not a midfielder. But with Johnson and Martins healthy, where does Deuce fit in? With hopes of accommodating his newly acquired weapon it seems as if Schmid has but only one choice: move to a 4-2-3-1.

Both options require Alonso and Evans to play more defensively, but in return it gives Seattle some flexibility in their front four.

  1. Dempsey plays below Martins. Rosales and Johnson play out wide.
  2. Rosales plays below Martins. Dempsey and Johnson play out wide.

Still, the question remains to be seen as to how the addition Dempsey, a world-class goalscorer, will eat into the production of others. If the formation does in fact change and Johnson moves out wide, does it make him less likely to score? If Martins is alone up top will he get the lion's share of opportunities?

It's not yet clear who will be the focal point of Seattle's offense going forward or where the goals will come from, but let's be real, over the next few months, Dempsey is going to light it up.

Clint Dempsey - Statistics

Career (2004-2013)

  • 284 appearances
  • 82 goals
  • 33 assists
  • 1 goal every 3.5 games

Major League Soccer (2004-06)

  • 71 appearances
  • 25 goals
  • 14 assists
  • 1 goal every 2.8 games

English Premier League (2007-13)

  • 213 appearances
  • 57 goals
  • 19 assists
  • 468 shots
  • 2.2 shots/game
  • 45% shooting accuracy
  • 1 goal every 3.7 games
  • Averaged 77 minutes/game
  • 215 Chances created (including assists)

If you are among the 1,000+ who have already added Clint Dempsey to your MLS Fantasy team, you might have to wait until next weekend to see him suit up. On Tuesday, Dempsey missed his first scheduled practice with Seattle after picking up a virus. He did work out on Wednesday.

Schmid has not officially ruled out his new Designated Player, so try to keep a close eye on the situation. Schmid also noted that if Dempsey was in fact able to play against Toronto, that he wouldn't be out their for the entire 90 minutes. Whether he starts or comes off the bench hasn't yet been determined either. Stay tuned to @MLSFantasy for more details.

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