Dempsey rides high for Tottenham with intriguing opponents ahead
Clint Dempsey played his finest game in a Tottenham uniform Sunday, and the timing could not have been better. Now, after appearing to find comfort and rhythm in the club's lineup, he'll be part of an upcoming pair of gameswith significant meaning for the American.
The Dempsey Motivation Tour will be playing two shows this week, with Tottenham facing Liverpool and Fulham in a four-day span on the heels of what Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas called "an extremely good performance" by Dempsey, who had a hand in setting up two goals in the club's much-needed win over West Ham. His assist to Gareth Bale was Dempsey at his finest, head up in the middle of the park with a cheeky chip over the defense to put the Wales star in on goal. Now, Dempsey will focus on two teams who kept his name in the news prominently during this summer's transfer window.
It was Liverpool's jersey that Dempsey thought he would be wearing this season, but the club's low-ball offers put Dempsey in a precarious position ahead of the Premier League season and World Cup qualifiers before Tottenham came to the rescue on deadline day. It was Fulham where Dempsey starred for the last five-plus seasons, becoming a club icon before being frozen out by the club and manager Martin Jol when he made his transfer demands to head to a bigger club clear. Wednesday's clash with the Reds at White Hart Lane and Saturday's return to Craven Cottage for the London derby will present Dempsey (who was not permitted to train with Fulham's first team this summer during the entire transfer saga) a chance to show Brendan Rodgers and the Liverpool brass that they should have ponied up more and a chance to prove to Jol that he can succeed on a team with Champions League aspirations.
This week also represents a landmark occasion for another trio of U.S. internationals as Edgar Castillo, Joe Corona and Greg Garza attempt to complete a shocking run to the Apertura championship in Mexico's top flight. Tijuana has been a first-tier club for all of 18 months, and after eliminating two-time defending CONCACAF Champions League winner Monterrey in the playoff quarterfinals and coming back from a 2-0 aggregate deficit to top Leon and reach the final, Los Xolos are on the cusp of lifting the Liga MX trophy. Getting to the final in itself had already cemented a place in the 2013-14 CCL for Tijuana, which also claimed a place in next year's Copa Libertadores competition. The club's rise is one of the more remarkable stories on this soccer continent.
Americans are making news off the field in Mexico, too. Jose Francisco Torres transferred from Pachuca to Tigres UANL, with whom he'll play during the Clausura campaign and also be eligible for the spring's CCL quarterfinals (Tigres drew the Seattle Sounders for the first knockout round). Two other moves appear to be in the offin: Defenders Jonathan Bornstein and Michael Orozco Fiscal have been transfer listed by Tigres and San Luis, respectively.
As for those who got on the scoresheet, Terrence Boyd remained in form with a goal in a second consecutive game -- and his 11th in all competitions -- scoring in Rapid Vienna's Europa League loss. Fabian Johnson also found the back of the net in a losing effort. He remains one of Hoffenheim's bright spots in an otherwise drab season for the relegation-threatened German club. Here is how they and the rest of the Americans playing abroad fared this past week (season statistics encompass all competitions):