Dempsey enters Fulham record books, more Americans Abroad
You know how the rest of the Craven Cottage chant goes.
With his brace against Bolton last Wednesday, Dempsey became Fulham's all-time leading goal scorer in the Premier League era. His 33 (and counting) goals bested current Sunderland midfielder Steed Malbranque and retired American Brian McBride, who each tallied 32 times in the Premier League for the Cottagers.
Dempsey, who broke McBride's record for goals by an American in a Premier League season earlier this spring, has 12 tallies to his name and is tied for eighth in the league in that statistic with three games remaining.
As has been the case most of the season, Dempsey delivered the goals to Fulham when it needed them most. The club has been riding the Premier League table roller coaster, going from mid-table to drop-zone range and back for much of its campaign. While attempting to stave off relegation once and for all and breathe easier over the final weeks of the season, Fulham turned to its No. 23.
"He's been really important for us," Fulham manager Mark Hughes told FulhamFC.com. "Certainly in the first part of the season we were struggling. I didn't feel we had the quality we needed [up front] -- we had guys coming back, and I was playing Clint up there on his own and he still had an impact. If he didn't score then he'd create things for someone else."
Sporting a clean-shaven look, Dempsey went to two finesse moves in his arsenal to take matters into his own hands against Bolton. First he hit a scissor-kick side volley off a cross following a set piece, a goal that demonstrated exquisite technique and may have been his top strike of the season.
A few minutes into the second half, Dempsey latched onto a flicked-on ball from Eidur Gudjohnson and deftly touched it home inside the 6-yard box for the record breaker.
"I was starting to get the itch a little and feel the pressure to perform, so it was good that I was able to do that and help be a part of the team's success in getting the three points to get us into the top half of the table," Dempsey said on the team's website.
Those three points helped clinch Fulham's place in the 2011-2012 Premier League. The Cottagers will be joined by Norwich City and American center back Zak Whitbread, who sealed their promotion from the League Championship with a victory over Portsmouth on Monday. The Canaries have been promoted in consecutive seasons -- from League One in 2010 to Premier League in 2011 -- becoming the first team to accomplish that feat since Manchester City in 2000.
In addition to the exploits of Dempsey and Whitbread, Freddy Adu found the net again to highlight the week that was for Americans playing abroad (statistics encompass all competitions):