In order for the United States to succeed in this summer’s 2014 World Cup, the Men’s National Team desperately needs veteran Clint Dempsey to step up and perform.
The National Team seems to be one of the strongest and most fluent groups the U.S. has put together in a long time and head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has his squad firing on all cylinders. Dempsey has been key to their 2012-2013 successful run through the World Cup Qualifiers, netting 12 goals in 19 international appearances during that span.
Dempsey is clearly in a small, elite group of U.S. players, trailing only teammate Landon Donovan in goals scored and points on the international stage. His great skills earned him a long stint in the Premiere League, especially his six seasons with Fulham. The 6-1 native of Texas must perform at the top of his abilities at the World Cup for the U.S. to have a chance.
The 2010 World Cup had its highs and lows for the U.S. as the team won its group for the first time since 1930, but lost in the round of 16 against a Ghana team they certainly could have beaten. In that tournament, Dempsey scored only one goal, albeit the crucial equalizer against England in Group play. Nevertheless, you may remember that goal is mildly infamous as Dempsey’s long and seemingly innocent shot squibbed off the keeper and squirted into the goal.
The USMNT got a bit lucky with the 2010 World Cup Draw, landing in a fairly winnable group. Assuming their luck will not be as good in 2014, the team will need Dempsey to do much more than score just one goal. Dempsey has the ability to lead his squad both in spirit and in physical talent and he will need to do so in order to help advance further in the tournament.