Once again Monday, it was Liverpool.
And given that Liverpool in some ways now represents the “English” hope as the home country Premiership super club, perhaps it was again appropriate.
And again, the conductor was Clint Dempsey with the symphonic high note on a little flick of his be-cleated baton. This time though, the performance and the standing ovation afterward was much more about the individual than the team.
Clint Dempsey, game winner. Fulham wins, Liverpool laments.
On the 5th day of another month–this one May of 2007–Dempsey poked home a similar goal to Monday’s winner to keep his newly-found Cottager team afloat in the Premiership for another year. (They’ve of course haven’t slipped to those dire straits since.)
December 5th, 2011–more than four years later–saw the American soccer’s favorite Texan swipe the American EPL career goal record (now 37) from his revered former Prem teammate Brian McBride. (Interestingly, it took Dempsey 14 more games to match McBride’s 26)
For a man that continues to score in cinematic ways: comedies, dramas, thrillers, suspenseful endings, it doesn’t quite seem that Dempsey has garnered the respect that taking home an Oscar from The Academy earns an actor in Tinseltown.
It’s hard to see Dempsey one day getting a bar at Craven Cottage with his last-name emblazoned on it like McBride. More immediately, as the January transfer window’s latch begins to unfasten, the lack of Oscar-like respect will probably see Dempsey once again at the heart of rumors–not home mover–convergence.
In fact, if the title-type wasn’t overused by ESPN sister sites too much, the proper headline for for this Dempsey tale may be “That Curious Case of Drew Dempsey.” (The middle name makes the alliteration obviously work better.)
Two years ago, a TSG penned a piece with a decidedly different theme and title (“What’s Going On Clint?“)
Through the prose of Marvin Gaye, there was a stark perplexity to how the squirrely attacker could pop-up like a whack-a-mole for a critical pass or goal, but go absent for long stretches of games.
Indeed for his club team Fulham, through 2009, over 80% of Dempsey’s goals in league play were either scored in the first 20 minutes of the match or the last 20. He wasn’t listening to Michael Jackson and sipping tea in between, but he wasn’t forcing the issue either.
For the US national team–with Landon Donovan firmly installed as first knight–the inconsistency was even more pronounced.