Following an in-game outburst three weeks ago which saw the him angrily destroy a referee’s notebook Clint Dempsey was ousted as United States national team captain
Dempsey earned himself a three-game suspension from Major League Soccer for his actions in the US Open Cup game, but it was USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann who handed down the biggest punishment.
Following the Seattle Sounder forwards pathetic actions, Klinsmann made the tough decision to appoint Michael Bradley as his new captain.
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Dempsey may no longer be captain, but he will be relieved to know that he is still thought of as an integral part of the team.
“We made a decision and he was absolutely on board with it,” Klinsmann said during his post-game press conference after the States opened their Gold Cup campaign with a 2-1 win over Honduras.
“I was a striker myself, and to go through those moments where you made a mistake or did something wrong, all you want to do is move on. As a striker, what you want to do the most is score. You live for that as a striker.”
Dempsey did just that in the tournament opener, bagging a brace at Toyota Stadium - the 21,000 capacity home of FC Dallas - three hours down the road from where he grew up in Texas.
In his first competitive game since the incident, Dempsey delivered the goods and, despite no longer serving as captain, led his teammates to victory, choosing to get on with things and do his job rather than sulking.
Midfielder Kyle Beckerman backed up his head coach's comments after the game, saying that Dempsey is focused on the task at hand.
“I don’t think it’s bothered him at all,” said Beckerman. “I think that’s in the past for him. He made a mistake, and now it’s just about moving on. Clint did what he does tonight, and I think we’ll be needing him again to score some more goals.”
The United States will need more of that from the former Tottenham and Fulham man if they want to end the tournament as Champions. But so far, so good.