Deuce to Seattle – One Man’s Opinion


Deuce Says Peace

Clint Dempsey. Deeeeeuuuuccce. How I heart you so.

How I’ve always loved you so as a player. As a preface to all this, you are the reason I began following the EPL. Sure there’s been McBride and Joe Max Moore before you, and of course our keepers (TIMMAY!!!), but you were the first my-generation field player I could watch regularly play at 7 AM on Saturday mornings as US coverage expanded. You always fascinated me with your perma-scowl yet irrefutable joy when you play. As Bruce Arena so famously said, you “just try sh*t.”

I even am a huge fan of your rap song. Seriously.


You are my ultimate sports man-crush. You should have seen the stupid grin on my face at the World Cup Qualifier here in Seattle when you were introduced and I witnessed you playing live. A very real argument can be made that you are on the same level as Landon Donovan as the best American field player.


And now you’re flying from Heathrow to the West Coast. Rumors are flying about Seattle wanting to bring you here and for the last few hours I’ve been guilty of joining in on soccer’s “silly season,” letting far-flung rumors allow me think, verbatim: No way is this real. Ohmygod this might be real. NO WAY CAN THIS BE HAPPENING. IT MIGHT BE HAPPENING.




Maybe this is the Chicago-sports fan in me that forces a level-head no matter how well things may be going…


You may not be the best thing for the Sounders. Sigi mentioned our newly opened DP slot will be used to try and find a forward or central mid that likes to get forward. You are that. You have always been at your best floating around the pitch in the middle attacking, using your creativity (rare for most American field players) and just “trying sh*t.”


Yet with Sigi’s style and our current players, where do you fit? We have 3 attacking players in EJ, Oba and Neagle who can’t figure out how to play together. We’ve tried Neagle on the wing in a 4-3-3, but he’s infinitely better roaming free up top. EJ and Oba only have a few games together, but Neagle and Oba have an understanding that EJ and Oba don’t seem to. Eddie can play on the wing as he has for the USMNT, but he’s a striker, not a winger, and that shows in his defensive efforts. EJ and Oba run into the issue in soccer that happens when you play 2 class players in a similar role: They get in each other’s way or they make the same run. Neagle and Oba have been having the best years of the 3 and in fact the Sounders are 7-1 when they start up top together. And now we add you, a 4th class player to the equation? Sigi can’t even make 3 work. Do we give up Eddie who has been the closest to filling Montero’s shoes? Do we get rid of Neagle who is only 25 and still on the rise? And Oba’s going nowhere.


We can play you on the right wing and allow you to slide inside like Spurs, Fulham and the US have done and allow our phenom Yedlin to overlap you on the line, but then we force out another DP Mauro. This might not be too terrible as Mauro is not the same player he was, but you are also not at your Deuce-best cutting in from the wing.


We can play you in the middle beneath the two strikers in the Brad Evans role and let your creativity really shine with our stellar strikers running off you. You even have the work rate to defend the middle of the pitch. But Evans and Ozzie have a phenomenal understanding of each other this season. It’s evident when Evans is missing and Rose or Carrasco play next to Ozzie, rather than in front of him that our offense lacks drastically. Can you give us the same understanding with Ozzie? Then what do we do with Brad, a highly usable USMNT-quality player himself.


Like any other sport, in order to add there must be a subtraction from the roster. And while Shalrie renegotiated and we cut Ochoa to open a spot… we still have to make you fit. And Sigi has to utilize you. Our personnel can’t make a 4-3-3 work. We play our best in a 4-1-3-2 formation, but do we risk the understanding between Evans and Ozzie that has allowed the center-of-the-pitch domination we see when they play together?


I don’t have an answer, and what scares me is I don’t know if the man who is paid to, Sigi, would either.


And as much as the Chicagoan in me is forcing level-headed counterpoint thinking, my heart is going pitter pat, pitter pat as I think of myself watching you in the Rave Green.


Deuce, how I heart you so.


Penned by guest author Brian Creighton – you can find him on Twitter @briancreighton


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