SEATTLE – Even by his own lofty standards, Clint Dempsey has been making a lot of history lately.
Already tying the all-time scoring record for the US national team, the Seattle Sounders’ star forward reached another milestone in his team’s home matchup against Sporting Kansas City in a 1-0 win on Saturday, scoring the game-winning goal in the 36th minute to mark his 50th career tally with the Sounders across all competitions.
“It feels great,” Dempsey told reporters after the game. “The team moved mountains to get me here when I was playing with Tottenham [in 2013] and I’m glad to chip in with goals and help this team win and do some cool things. I’ve enjoyed my time here but there’s more to accomplish so I’m looking forward to finishing the season strong and trying to repeat [as MLS Cup champions].”
The milestone tally was part of what has turned into quite the prolonged hot streak for the 34-year-old, who now has seven goals and five assists in his last eight games, counting his stint with the USMNT at this summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup.
“He took over this game [today] in a different way,” Sounders midfielder Cristian Roldan said. “He didn’t touch the ball very much, from what I saw at least on the field. But he got that one chance and he made it. That’s what good goal-scorers do. That’s what Clint does. He has 50 goals now with the Sounders and you can see why he’s so effective. He did his job and we were able to get that clean sheet.”
Asked about Dempsey’s recent exploits after the match, Seattle head coach Brian Schmetzer credited Sounders sports science director Dave Tenney for collaborating with Dempsey on a detailed training regimen that has helped him regain his vintage form after last season’s six-month absence due to an irregular heartbeat.
“We have a plan for Clint,” Schmetzer said. “It’s a long-term plan where we understand the importance of our team and what he brings to our team and also the other competition that he’s in, which is the national team. Between the three of us, we’ve come up with a plan and Clint has bought into the plan.
“He’s training well, he’s in a good space mentally. The guy has come back from a lot of adversity.”
The hot streak has also coincided with what is easily Seattle’s best run of form thus far in 2017. With the victory on Saturday, Seattle (10-7-7) are now unbeaten in their last eight matches and moved into a tie with SKC for the Western Conference lead with the 37 points ahead of their next match, which will pit them against Minnesota United in a home bout at CenturyLink Field.