Tag: Dempsey

No One Ever Said Dempsey was a Rational Man

In arguably one of the dumbest moments of Clint Dempsey’s impressive career, he put his team at an even greater disadvantage than they already were, by grabbing the referee’s notebook, throwing it, picking it up and tearing it to shreds. This all occurred while the ref was giving another Seattle player a red card for an extremely questionable violation. Please watch the video below:

Now, red cards happen, but not three in a game where you are already down a player due to injury. Apparently, this action will not soon be forgotten as it may qualify as “referee assault” which warrants a minimum of a three-month ban. Dempsey has lost his cool before, but not in this way. As a supposed leader of his team, there is no excuse for his actions and never a situation where they are acceptable. The question then becomes, what does this mean for his place in the USMNT if he is not playing club football for three months? Maybe he’ll go on loan to the Premier League or to Mexico? Only time will tell, but this is definitely the most idiotic soccer play you’ll see for a long-time to come.

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New US Soccer Away Kit

Nike officially unveiled the new US Soccer Away Kit today.  Both the Men’s and Women’s team will have the privilege of competing in them.  The Women’s team will debut the kit in the Algarve Cup in the beginning of March and the Men’s team will wear the kit against Denmark on March 25th.

Naturally, Nike got the likes of Dempsey and Alex Morgan to model the jersey for the release photos.  Check out some of the photos and let us know what you think.

Dempsey

Dempsey Back
Alex Morgan

Alex

Away Kit

 

Dempsey Shoves Omar Gonzalez, Proves They Are No Longer Teammates But Competitors

This happened last night in the Seattle Sounders/LA Galaxy game after Omar Gonzalez fouled Clint Dempsey’s Sounder’s teammate, Deandre Yedlin, and Clint Dempsey took exception to it. The most surprising part is that all three of the players involved in the fracas are teammates on the USMNT. Hopefully this doesn’t hurt their relationship with each other when they put on the Red, White, and Blue but since they are professionals they probably are much better at compartmentalizing these things. Full video HERE

h/t SB Nation

Beckham Eyes Removal of MLS Salary Cap

A salary cap is a fixture in most of the major sports leagues in the United States.  Every league except for Major League Baseball has a system in place to prevent teams from spending unlimited funds on its players with the idea of leveling the playing field financially.  The NFL and NHL have a “hard” salary cap, meaning teams are forbidden from going over the stated salary cap number with zero exceptions.  Teams must be at or under that number at all times.  The NBA has a “soft” salary cap which punishes teams who spend over the salary cap number with a “luxury tax” – a tax on the amount a team spends over the salary cap.  The NBA also states a maximum amount an NBA team is allowed to pay one player which is referred to as a “max contract”.

The MLS has a hard salary cap – with exceptions.  For 2014, the stated salary cap set by the MLS is $3.1m; however, a team is able to designate up to 3 players that do not count towards that number – a.k.a. “The Beckham Rule”.  Therefore, a team is able to spend an unlimited amount on its top 3 players while still being required to stay under $3.1m with the rest of the squad.  Back in 2007, this gave the LA Galaxy the ability to sign Beckham for over $6m per season, despite the salary cap being at less than half that amount.

Beckham’s signing back in 2007 was revolutionary for the MLS and certainly paved the way for the current trend of European stars finishing their careers in the States (a la Thierry Henry and Jermaine Defoe).  Even though these players are at the downside of their careers, they are still a level above the rest of the MLS which not only raises the level of competition across the league, but also adds star power that the MLS is so desperately in search of.  The NBA has LeBron, Durant, Melo…etc.  The NFL has Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson, Calvin Johnson…etc.  The MLB has Miguel Cabrera, Clayton Kershaw, Derek Jeter…etc.  The MLS, solely because of “The Beckham Rule”, now has Dempsey, Henry, and Defoe.  Stars attract fans, it’s as simple as that.  No way would Dempsey, Henry, or Defoe be playing in the MLS if teams were required to stay under $3.1m without any exceptions.  It’s also no coincidence that after the Beckham signing, the MLS popularity has been climbing ever since.

ESPNFC.com just posted an article regarding how seven of the top MLS individual earners earn more in wages than some entire MLS teams earn in revenue.  Take a look at the table:MLS earnings

As you can see, Dempsey, Bradley and Defoe make more than 3/4 of the teams in the league.  It just so happens the teams that out-earn them, are the teams that employ those players.  A team isn’t willing to pay Dempsey $6.7m if they can’t earn more than that back in revenue…simple economics (not to be confused with the billionaire owners in Europe).  This is why Beckham is pushing for the removal of the salary cap in general which will open up the signing of players to more of a free market system, similar to the Barclay’s Premier League.  The only way top-level talent can be coerced to play in the MLS is by offering them more money.  And the only way to grow the league is to bring in those big names.

Beckham recognizes this fact when he says, “The salary cap removal is what we’ll work for. Obviously, that’s one of the things that stops a lot of players coming over here, where I think the league and certain cities in this country will attract big-name players.”

In other words, the salary cap is holding back the growth of the MLS.  One of the main reasons a salary cap exists is to keep parity in the league so that every team has every chance financially to provide a winning product.  Last season, two teams who earn less than 6 individual players played for the league championship (Real Salt Lake and Sporting Kansas City) so parity does exist.  I think the main focus for the MLS now should be to align with Beckham’s ideas and either greatly increase or completely remove the salary cap.

Now that Beckham will be making executive decisions with his own team in Miami, he would like to have the ability to sign the best players available without the current financial restrictions.

“I’m not going to mention any players because it’s disrespectful to the players and the teams,” says Beckham. “But we want to bring big players. We have to.”

If that doesn’t get soccer fans excited at the potential of the MLS, I don’t know what will.

 

Sources:

http://espnfc.com/news/story/_/id/1781446/clint-dempsey-highest-paid-player-mls?cc=5901
http://www.latimes.com/sports/sportsnow/la-sp-sn-david-beckham-mls-salary-cap-20140402,0,7902176.story#ixzz2ybbVsU9y

Dempsey’s Scoring Woes

Source: http://hasclintdempseyscoredyet.com/
Source: http://hasclintdempseyscoredyet.com/

Clint Dempsey arrived at Seattle to much fanfare. However, since his arrival he has failed to score one goal. One would think such a prolific scorer coming from a top-tier EPL team could score one goal in MLS but that task has thus far eluded Clint. In fact, so frustrated are fans with Dempsey’s profligacy in front of goal that they created a site to record how he has not scored a goal yet (Picture above is a screenshot of that website.). What is wrong with Dempsey? Is he being crushed under the weight of the pressure of being the most expensive American player to sign with an MLS team? Is he he not getting the requisite service he needs to score like he does with the USMNT and did at Fulham and Tottenham? Maybe Dempsey has regressed more than many of us care to admit. Hopefully, Dempsey regains his scoring ways in the playoffs whatever is ailment. Not because I am a Seattle Sounders fan, but because the USMNT becomes that much more dangerous with a Dempsey that is on target then a Dempsey who is shooting blanks.

#DempseyPleaseStartScoring

USA vs Canada: Drab Meets Dreary

For me, and for Sam’s Army, the expectation was that the United States would recover from the defeat against Brazil with a blazing and exciting win versus a less than stellar Canada side that hasn’t beaten the USA in their past fourteen meetings. I don’t want this to turn into a USMNT bashing blog because I like the team. There is a lot of young potential there that needs to be fused with the seasoned veterans.But I digress once again.

The game itself was a boring mash-up of high school women’s soccer and a over the top, disco like, hardcore bingo night at the local senior center. Not much going on either way. The majority of possession for both teams was in their own halves. Chances were few and far between. Goodson missed a sitter early on and showed us why he is valued for his ability to head the ball and not on his footskills. Donovan and Dempsey combined well about thirty minutes into the game that created a chance that Dempsey might have been able to do better with. For the USMNT, that was about it. For Canada, they scored a goal. They won the ball fairly, off a young and talented Castillo, and took it towards to the goal for a tidy bit of finishing. But, somewhere along this string of plays, the line-o saw a foul and raised his flag for a phantom call that saved the United States. And that was the first half and that was it for the game.

So to the positives. Fabian Johnson was injured during warm-ups. I was sad to see this because he was a lone bright spot in the game against Brazil and I wanted to see him perform again. That being said, his replacement, Edgar Castillo, is as ambitious as he is talented. He is very athletic but his inexperience was exposed a few times last night. He almost dropped a wonderstrike in the back of the net on a volley for forty out that forced the Canadian keeper to tap it over the bar for a corner. He also worked his voodoo after a bad giveaway to force the sideline ref to call a foul that didn’t exist so I can’t fault him for that. Second, Jozy Altidore saw minutes once again. He wasn’t great, didn’t really change the game much, but seeing him in the USA kit again gets me excited for what’s to come.

All in all, not a great week for the US Men’s National Team leading up to their first World Cup Qualifiers. I think Jurgen Klinsmann and Co. have learned a lot about the team from these friendlies and will have the best team on the field for the qualifiers. As long as there is not an Olympic Qualifying repeat performance than I will be a happy man.

-LM

USA vs Brazil: Right Where USA Belongs

When I started watching this game, way before the first whistle blew, I had a faint hope, a glimmer of potential success that the USA Men’s National team could have a had against a Brazil side that was young but skillful. That was put to rest quickly. Was the penalty soft? On another day, could the referee have seen the ball play the hand and yelled “play on?” Yes, I think so. But that was not the defining factor in the game. The first half was a talent show for the Brazilians. Neymar and Marcelo had their way with the US. The long bright spots for the half and for the game were Fabian Johnson and Hercules Gomez. It is a tall task to ask a single forward to occupy a Brazilian backline that had little to do for the first half. I would say on average that it took five seconds for Brazil to win the ball back once they had lost it.

Still, with US down 1-0 it was a comedy of errors that allowed Brazil an easy second goal. It started with a Gooch(who was awful on the day) misclearance and then back to back corners. Less than perfect marking from Jermaine Jones and boom, it is 2-0 and the hill for the US to climb just got a lot steeper. I’m not sure if the US settled in or Brazil took their collective feet off the gas because once it was 2-0, the US finally had a little joy and salvaged the half with a brilliant goal off some solid work from Edu and Bradley, followed by a smart run from Fabian Johnson and a workmanlike finish from Gomez.

The second half brought out better things from the United States but still not enough to really threaten a certain comeback against the Brazilians. The US was very dangerous on set pieces but couldn’t make the most of the many corners they were given. Brazil was too much to handle. Marcelo and Neymar enjoyed the left flank and combined well to continuously put pressure on the US back four. This pressure paid off and Brazil won the game 4-1.

Here is Marcelo. He flicked it around Donovan in his own half like Donovan was a statue.Landon Donovan

Is this the end all for the United States? Are they just not a high caliber team? I would say the scoreline is a little harsh. 3-2 or 4-2 would be a fairer result. US missed some golden opportunities but if it was not for many early heroic saves from Tim Howard, this game could have been a blowout within the first twenty minutes. He let in four goals but saved the game on numerous occasions and is still the best player at his designated position that the US has. Dempsey made an appearance and was a bit of a factor. It would be interesting to see him and Donovan together for an entire game. Maybe in a 4-4-1-1 type formation? Who knows, but Klinsmann definitely got a lot of reads out of this game. Gooch and Bocanegra are not good compliments for each other. Neither is pacy or agile enough to compete with quick and nippy forwards. Fabian Johnson needs to be on the field. He will bring a potent attack to that left side, something that the US has been lacking from an outside back. Gomez made a strong case for why he should be considered in the USMNT starting lineup. It will be fun to see how Klinsmann switches up the lineups for the remaining friendlies and eventually the World Cup Qualifiers. The US should be upset with the result but not devastated. There is more football to be had and there will be more chances for the team to prove itself. Now the task is Canada on the weekend. We will see how this US team reacts to such a performance.

What do you think? Did the US play that poorly or did Brazil just show them what master class really is? Who were the best and worst US players on the day? How do you think the team will change on Sunday?

Looking forward to your comments.

-LM