“Whenever A and B are in opposition to each other, anyone who attacks or criticizes A is accused of aiding and abetting B,” George Orwell wrote in Through a Glass, Rosily. He continued, “It is a tempting manoeuvre, and I have used it myself more than once, but it is dishonest.”
I wonder if this line of logic works in reverse. If, when one praises or defends A, is one then therefore accused (however dishonestly) of chiding or castigating B? I hope this is not the case, as what I’m about to write next is not meant as a denunciation of Landon Donovan, but rather a show of support for his “rival” in Friday’s game against Fulham in the FA Cup.
I hereby announce that I’m on team Dempsey.
While I don’t believe the forced storyline: “Whether they meant it to happen or not, Donovan and Dempsey have been cast as rivals – as polar opposites fighting for the same crown,” I do think that tomorrow’s match-up is one that features two American players with markedly different styles. Given the choice of those two styles, in terms of both technical merit and entertainment value (or, less cynically put, ability to inspire), I choose Dempsey’s over Donovan’s.
Dempsey is more versatile, tougher, and better able to rally his teammates in times of adversity. There’s something almost sisyphean about his doggedly relentless determination, which, when coupled with his working-class humility, makes it almost impossible not to root for him. Furthermore, he has a tattoo of the current state in which I live on his arm. What’s not to love?
With that said, I don’t think this choice makes me necessarily anti-Donovan. I respect Donovan’s intricate passing and striking, his field vision, and, above all, his ability to come through in the clutch. U-S-A, U-S-A, etc.
But I’m still on team Dempsey.
Besides, Donovan has Sir Paul’s tacit support, which is all one needs, really. And as a Liverpool fan, rooting for their Merseyside counterparts would just feel strange. With that said, when will Liverpool realize that Dempsey would fit perfectly in their system, and make some deals to get him wearing red by next season? But I digress…