The American international hasn't scored in three games with Seattle, but is happy to keep gaining fitness and grinding out results.SEATTLE – At times there were flashes. Small glimpses of what Clint Dempsey can do on a soccer field.
There were stepovers, no-look passes, lightning-quick turns, and even some martial arts thrown in for good measure.
“I had like a little ninja kick trying to put the ball in,” Dempsey said after his Seattle team defeated arch-rival Portland by a 1-0 scoreline.
Dempsey was active in his third game with the Sounders since his transfer from Tottenham, and though the intent was there, the U.S. international is still looking for his first goal and first assist with his new team.
For most of the game, Dempsey was on or around the ball, trying everything he could to get on the scoresheet.
“I had a bicycle that was on goal, I had a header that was cleared off the line, I had a shot the keeper made a save for a corner,” Dempsey recalled. “I had a free kick I would have liked to have done better with but all in all I'm getting good looks.”
Dempsey joined his new team in the midst of preseason with Tottenham, meaning that his fitness is still not on par with the rest of his teammates.
“My fitness is getting there, I'm trying to play catch-up,” Dempsey said. “These guys are in midseason form, I'm preseason, you know. So I'm trying to hit the ground running.”
His manager echoed the sentiment.
“He's still a little bit in preseason,” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said. “I thought his energy was good until maybe about 10 to 12 minutes to go in the game. I thought at that point he was pretty tired.”
With a massive $9 million transfer fee and $32 million contract, expectations for the American international are sky-high, and failure to find the net in one of his team's upcoming games could ramp up the pressure.
At least outwardly though, Dempsey doesn't appear to be letting any kind of pressure get to him.
“I feel like I'm getting stronger every game in fitness and in the quality of my touches and the looks that I'm getting,” Dempsey said. “I feel like it's just a matter of time before it starts falling in the net for me.”
And, of course, getting results doesn't hurt either.
“I don't care if I score at all,” Dempsey said. “As long as we keep winning, that's the most important thing.”