FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Clint Dempsey’s return to Major League Soccer last August was billed as the U.S. National Team captain’s “homecoming” after seven years in Europe, but for fans of the New England Revolution, Dempsey won’t truly be home until Sunday night.
That’s when the former Revs star will make his long-awaited return to Gillette Stadium with top-of-the-table Seattle Sounders FC, which carries a five-game winning streak into Foxborough thanks in large part to Dempsey’s league-leading eight goals.
“He’s in a great bit of form at the moment, which is great for the U.S. going into the World Cup,” said Andy Dorman, one of only two players on the Revolution’s current roster – along with Shalrie Joseph – to have played with Dempsey in New England. “Obviously on Sunday we’ve got to try and stop him.”
Dempsey, who was drafted by the Revolution in the first round of the 2004 MLS SuperDraft, earned legendary status with the club despite only spending three years in Foxborough. He followed up a Rookie of the Year campaign in 2004 with MLS Best XI selections in 2005 and 2006, helping guide the Revs to MLS Cup appearances in his final two years.
After notching 25 goals and 14 assists in 71 regular-season appearances with the Revs – and establishing himself as a U.S. National Team regular – Dempsey made the leap to Europe in 2007, becoming the top-scoring American in the history of the English Premier League (57 goals) during stints with Fulham and Tottenham Hotspur.
Now Dempsey is back stateside and leading the line for Seattle, which will present a stern test for the Revs on Sunday as they aim to continue their own fine run of form (3-0-1 in the last four). Dorman noted those circumstances in highlighting the importance of the game, but also admitted that he’s excited about the opportunity to match up against his former teammate.
“We’re looking forward to the game,” said Dorman. “It’s definitely the sort of game you want to be playing in. I’m excited to see [Clint] and play against him, because I haven’t since the last time he was here in training. It’ll be good.”