Fulham vs. Chelsea Today: Best Comp for Dempsey?

Via @icloudchris on Twitter. Dempsey's winner.

First, a great primers for this question today: (On Clint Dempsey & respect)

Part of the previous piece on Dempsey asked the question why Dempsey–beyond perhaps being American–seems not to get the same respect as others given his proclivity for scoring in multiple ways despite not being a true striker, per se.

With another Fulham vs. Chelsea match going down today (the games between the two intra-city rivals always seemed to be marked by some Dempsey drama over the past three years–over-the-shoulder shots, braces, missed penalties), TSG gets the Monday juices flowing by asking:


What player does Dempsey best emulate?

I used to think and still perhaps think it’s Dennis Bergamp–however if Dempsey keeps scoring for the next few years he’ll eclipse Bergkamps ratio of high-teen-goal-counts to seasons ratio — that said, the styles seem similar.

Your choice? (And we’ll make this a column with better statistical review….)

[Note*: Threw in some names just to get the voting and commentary percolating here.]

25 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Jared on 2012/04/09 at 6:18 AM

    Dempsey wishes and so do all US fans that he was Dennis Bergkamp unfortunately he’s more Gudjohnsen for me. He’s just not skilled enough to really get to Bergkamp. Bergkamp had absolutely world class touch and vision to go with his ability to score goals.

    Kuyt would have to actually score goals for him to be compared to Dempsey. He has 5 goals for Liverpool in all competitions (29 appearances) this season per Soccernet. Dempsey has scored that many in the past month.


  2. Posted by Erik the Orange on 2012/04/09 at 7:32 AM

    Define “emulate”. Does that mean player that his playing style mimics, or does it mean his role in the team (importance, ability to play just about anywhere), or does it mean number/weight of goals scored? Maybe all of the above?

    For me, the player he emulates (all of the above) is Rooney (stick with me here). Rooney’s class is above and beyond, IMO, but like Dempsey, Rooney has played the false 9, striker, and he’s played on both wings when Ronaldo was with United. He scores goals in all sorts of styles (head, bicycle, 25 yd canons, tap ins), and is more of a creative mid/striker combo than either of the two specifically. Rooney in years past could go quiet for games at a time, but pop up and score a winner. Rooney also stepped up and scored bags of goals once United’s leading goal scorer in Ronaldo went to RM. Take away Rooney’s goals and United might be struggling (although less so than Fulham if you took away Clint).

    Sound like anyone you know?

    To emphasize, I am not comparing Dempsey to Rooney….Rooney is clearly world class elite. I’m saying Dempsey most emulates Rooney across all categories.


    • Posted by Erik the Orange on 2012/04/09 at 7:44 AM

      If it’s a comparison, like for like, that you’re making, I’d go with Gudjohnsen.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2012/04/09 at 8:19 AM

      Don’t see Rooney at all. No disrespect. So much of that team has been set-up so that Rooney can either be successful OR draw the focus of the other team.

      Dempsey on the other hand has had to prove himself for what 5 coaches in 6 years. They’re always looking to replace him.

      With Dempsey, I feel Fulham just now gets him the ball or he finds it.

      Just my opinion.

      Intentionally left this vague by using words like “emulate” and “comp.”


      • Posted by Erik the Orange on 2012/04/09 at 8:36 AM

        That’s fair. True, United is set up as a focal point of that team. Also true, Dempsey has had to fight through multiple coaching changes, has never been a focal point, has had to fill in whenever, wherever needed, and has never really been fully acknowledged for his contributions.

        I agree that Dempsey has never really been the target, and yet he’s still produced. Having said that, he’s the poor man’s Rooney. If you’re a team that needs a do-it-all kind of guy that can create and score, you can get a cheap Rooney-type player, IMO. Without the same amt of production most likely.

        I may have missed the point, but that’s my opinion….


        • Posted by matthewsf on 2012/04/09 at 8:58 AM

          No, just differing opinion and civil debate. No one is right or wrong.


          • Posted by Erik the Orange on 2012/04/09 at 9:07 AM

            Side note, cool to see a guy that you played against in an amateur league is scoring goals in the MLS. I was lucky enough to play some amateur league games against Paul Daglish and a couple of ex-MLSers. Different level.


  3. Posted by scweeb on 2012/04/09 at 2:00 PM

    Well Dempsey no matter what you say can put in goals when they are needed.


  4. Posted by JGD on 2012/04/09 at 4:47 PM

    I voted VDV. I’ll be quite honest, I haven’t watched enough of the older players to form a strong opinion. In terms of contemporaries, I think Dempsey and VDV compare quite favorably. Though Dempsey is more the ‘jack-of-all-trades’ than is VDV, while Rafa seems a better pure striker of the ball. If I’m looking for goals, I’d go with VDV.


  5. Posted by Jared on 2012/04/10 at 5:38 AM

    The best part of his goal was that it was John Terry marking him. Any time an American can make that guy look bad is a good thing.


  6. Posted by twewlife on 2012/04/10 at 6:32 AM

    Maybe this is a bit of a stretch, but given Dempsey’s recent form, can we start referring to him as the greatest U.S. Player of all time? I’d be curious to see what other names fall into the mix. Thoughts?


    • Posted by Jared on 2012/04/10 at 7:57 AM

      I don’t think it’s a stretch at all if you’re just referring to outfield players. The only players close for me would be Claudio Reyna and Donovan. I will always discount Donovan because he never really took the challenge of playing in Europe always returning home to safety when the going got even a little bit tough and when you compare that to Dempsey fighting for playing time every year at Fulham with different coaches it really stands out. Dempsey will probably end up second on the list of USMNT goal scorers when he’s done as he’s only 9 behind Wynalda now and he doesn’t take penalties for the US because of Donovan.


    • Posted by JGD on 2012/04/10 at 10:00 AM

      I definitely think Dempsey is the most skilled/technically proficient U.S. player ever. By the time he hangs it up, assuming he continues to produce at a high level, it’s gonna be hard not to consider him the greatest American male soccer player of all time.

      I respect Donovan for sticking with MLS and helping grow the league. Based on his loan spells at Everton, he’s more than capable of playing in a top league. But still, Dempsey has played in 200+ games in European competition, against some of the best teams in the world. Donovan will never have that under his belt.

      Reyna was a great player, but the one ‘knock’ on him is that he could never seem to stick. He never made more than 87 league appearances with any one squad. I think Cherundolo is consistently underrated for this reason. A guy who’s played in 300+ league games with one team, helped get Hannover promoted and kept them in the Bundesliga as captain. That’s staying power.


      • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2012/04/10 at 5:57 PM

        Different type of player, but what about Roy Wegerle? I honestly think he doesn’t get the credit he deserves. You have to also take into account that he tried to ‘play’ in an era when the long ball and little & large combo up front was rife.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2012/04/10 at 10:06 AM

      Great “outfield” (hate that expression) player of all-time. It’s hard to refute that Brad Friedel isn’t the best with his spells at Blackburn, AV and now Tottenham.

      But Dempsey will trump Friedel in the debate if he keeps of what he is doing for a few more seasons.


      • Posted by JGD on 2012/04/10 at 10:51 AM

        Agreed about Friedel. Not enough respect is given to GKs when it comes to honoring the best players. Hard to argue against the likes of Zoff, Yashin, Banks, Buffon, Kahn being the among best footballers ever, regardless of position.


      • Posted by BernieBernier on 2012/04/10 at 5:15 PM

        Oddly, I feel like Friedel is devalued in my mind because he has Keller as a contemporary. There were points in time where Friedel wasn’t even the best US goalie, or at least an argument could be made as such.

        Dempsey is a few more seasons (needs to be at a big squad) from being hands down the GOAT US soccer player.


        • Posted by KickinNames... on 2012/04/13 at 12:58 PM

          And somehow Timmy Howard doesn’t get a mention…
          I agree you’d have to consider Keller over Friedel if going in that direction, as Keller was consistently selected over Brad for USMNT. It’s why he took himself off the Nats in the early aughts.

          I think Reyna was the first truly international class player but his consistent injury problems and lack of first team staying power limited his impact.
          As much as B McBride impacted his EPL side, Demps is raising it to level that no USMNT player has ever approached.
          Donovan, IMO, loses much respect for choosing to “hide” in MLS for far too long. I think hes a fantastic MNT player but he shrank from the challenge of a far more difficult league when it counted most. Demps stared it down and made it his beeyotch.
          To be fair, Donovan is probably a greater USMNT GOAT due to his sustained impact on the program and his rising to the occasion and carrying them for long stretches. Demps I believe is a candidate for greater intl player in USMNT history,


        • Posted by John on 2012/04/13 at 3:04 PM

          I’m not sure that we should so easily buy into the “Keller is better than Friedel” memo that I have heard recently… especially if you consider the 2002 world cup run where Friedel was quite good.

          Friedel was on the 2002-03 PFA Premier League Team of the year, and was the 2002 US Soccer Athlete of the year. He started every game at the 2002 World Cup, and the US had a great run.

          He was also a captain for the Nats at times, and honestly should have been at the 2006 World Cup but knew that Arena wasn’t going to start him.


          • Posted by matthewsf on 2012/04/13 at 3:48 PM

            I haven’t seen the Keller meme. Friedel is still going and playing at a top 5 EPL side — maybe even Champion’s League side. Friedel also singlehandedly saved Blackburn from relegation in 02-03. Not a debate in my mind.


            • I’ve seen it quite a bit recently, mostly due to the fact that Keller has been in the “local news” a bit more than Friedel recently, which to me is slightly understandable. This isn’t to say Keller wasn’t a fantastic keeper (and certainly your own personal preference comes into it) but Friedel was always the keeper I wanted on the nats during his time.

  7. Sadly, I don’t believe Bruce Murray is going to make the cut 🙂


  8. Posted by KickinNames... on 2012/04/13 at 12:47 PM

    Frankie Headache. Hands down.


  9. Posted by ebradlee10 on 2012/04/13 at 1:19 PM

    Ricky Davis still gets no respect.


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