SEATTLE — Clint Dempsey's health was no worse on Thursday than it was a day before, and these days, that’s positive news for the Seattle Sounders.
Dempsey entered the team’s match against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Wednesday night in the 52nd minute with the team already trailing 2-0, just his second appearance for the club since Aug. 31. A hamstring injury has limited him much of the past month and also kept him out of the US national team’s final two matches of World Cup qualifying.
“For me, it was just about going out there and seeing where I was fitness-wise,” Dempsey said following the 4-1 loss to Vancouver. “There’s some stuff I still need to work on.
"I was happy coming away from the game with no injuries, after having a strain in the hamstring, but all I can do is work hard in training and prepare myself to be the best I can be for the team. It’s the best thing I can do to help the team out.”
Dempsey finished with three shots in the relatively short shift – including two on goal – but still hasn’t scored his first MLS goal since joining the Sounders in August.
The hamstring injury suffered in mid-September and the ensuing recovery are what kept him out of the latest US camp – and denied him the chance to become the only US player to appear in all 10 games in the Hexagonal – and he said he’s unsure if there’s a chance he’ll be called in ahead of the US team’s finale next Tuesday in Panama.
“It's whatever, it's not my decision to make,” Dempsey said. “I haven't been playing. I've been hurt. All I've been trying to do is rehab and come back the best I can come back. All I can control is how hard I work in training and trying to get back on the field.”
With the Sounders on a four-game winless run and having lost their last two games by a combined score of 9-2, there’s a new level of urgency heading into Sunday's trip to the Portland Timbers (9 pm ET, ESPN). As of now, Dempsey is expected to be available for the match.
“The next game is the most important, always,” he said. “We got to start winning. We got to get a win if we want to get to playoffs, so right now that’s the focus is making sure we get a result on the weekend.”