Seattle's Clint Dempsey opens up about his move back to MLS
SI.com: How do you think your first game with Seattle [a 2-1 at Toronto] went on Saturday?
Dempsey: I thought it went pretty good. Obviously, you'd like to score a goal or get an assist, but I got some good touches. Unfortunately, I went on because [Obafemi Martins] got hurt. That's never good, but hopefully Oba will be back soon, because he's definitely a big player for the team. It was good to get some touches and play with Eddie and Shalrie, and we created some good chances. Hopefully I can start getting more looks on goal and start putting it in the back of the net. And the team's on a good run of form.
SI.com: You're not going to be with the U.S. team on Wednesday. It would have been your 100th cap, which will be a big deal when it happens. Did you want to go this week?
Dempsey: It was a situation where we're doing a lot of travel, and to be fair, was I fit enough to go a full 90 and have a strong performance? Or was I playing enough that it merited me going in? I only played two preseason games. One was 60 minutes in the rain on a drenched field, and I got a good 45 minutes in the second game. And since then it's been a whirlwind with travel and so on. I got 65 minutes in the last game [on Saturday]. I'm trying to build my fitness and get my sharpness, and to be honest I wasn't playing enough and well enough, I'd say, that it merited me getting called in.
SI.com: The August FIFA date is always awkward with the European club season starting.
Dempsey: It's awkward for everyone, really. For the European players, they don't want to get hurt, because it's the beginning of their season. They don't want to miss out on the training leading up to the first game, and they hope it doesn't hurt their chances. Depending on where the game is, it hurts you more than others. If we'd had the game in the States it would hurt the team more, because you play a game on Wednesday, fly on Thursday, get in Friday morning, have a game on Saturday and have to show your stuff. If you don't show your stuff, you can find yourself out of the team for two or three weeks. That's just how it goes when you're an international player. It definitely makes being successful on the club level more difficult, I think.
SI.com: Have you had a chance to talk to Klinsmann since you made the decision to go to Seattle?
Dempsey: Just text. He said he wasn't going to bring me in for this game, but he was looking forward to making history in Costa Rica [in the World Cup qualifier on Sept. 6. The U.S. has never won in Costa Rica in nine tries] and making sure we book our tickets to Brazil [for the World Cup]. I'm excited about getting my 100th cap, and hopefully we do make history in Costa Rica.
SI.com: The U.S. has a record 11 straight wins right now, including the World Cup qualifiers and Gold Cup going back to the friendly win over Germany in early June. What's going so well right now?
Dempsey: I think confidence. We're on a good run of form. We've really been playing well since all the controversy that happened around that camp in Denver [around the story written by Brian Straus about issues within the team]. I think that brought us closer as a team. We talked about things. We've done a better job of being more compact defensively, being difficult to break down. I don't think we've been conceding as many goals, or easy goals, and that's helped. We've been scoring goals, no matter who seems to be playing. It's good to have Jozy [Altidore] scoring goals again, good to have Landon [Donovan] back in the team scoring goals again. [Chris] Wondolowski was on fire scoring. That's what you need, clean sheets and goals. That's the trick.
SI.com: Klinsmann has talked about wanting U.S. players to play at the highest possible level. Is there any concern on your part that he was silent about your move for nine days after it happened?