What is Clint Dempsey's worth?
To Fulham, it's the difference between being six places clear of the drop zone or being buried at the bottom of it.
Dempsey has made a habit of scoring crucial goals during his career as a Cottager, and he added another to his account with a late equalizer against Aston Villa over the weekend. He now has 10 goals in all competitions this season.
"It's the first time I've gotten into double digits since I've been here," Dempsey told FulhamFC.com. "I've come close a few times, and it's good to better myself each season. It's good to finally get into that number of goals, and hopefully I can push on and finish the season strong."
All of Dempsey's career-high nine league goals have come either in wins or draws, and they have translated directly into 13 points for Fulham -- half of the team's season total. Considering that without those results Fulham would be trailing last-place West Ham by seven points, Dempsey's name should be in the mix when debating the candidates for the league's most valuable player.
He's tied for eighth in goals among all Premier League players, has accounted for almost a third of Fulham's goals (nine of 28) and is doing more than just scoring. His high work rate and ability to be solid on the ball whether he's playing up top or in the midfield have been constants throughout this season, and he has developed into a consistent aerial threat. After winning over first-year manager Mark Hughes and entering the starting rotation for good, following a brief period of uncertainty, Dempsey is in the midst of his finest season as a professional.
Playing the role of savior at Craven Cottage is nothing new for Dempsey, who scored the winning goal in a match against Liverpool in May 2007, to keep Fulham in England's top flight. Now it seems as if every one of his goals are essentially doing the same thing.
Here's the full rundown of how Dempsey and the rest of the Americans playing abroad fared this past week (statistics encompass all competitions):