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SBI USMNT Man of the Match: Clint Dempsey

Photo by Trevor Ruszkowski/USA Today Sports

Clint Dempsey didn’t start Saturday’s Gold Cup semi-final win over Costa Rica, but he sure did finish it.

The veteran forward took over the match after coming on as a substitute in the 66th minute. A deft touch near the center of the park set up his perfectly weighted pass to Jozy Altidore for the opening goal in the 72nd, but the real magic came ten minutes later as he scored a goal of his own to ice the match.

Dempsey scored his record-tying 57th goal by sneaking a free kick inside the near post well out of the reach of a diving Patrick Pemberton. These two moments were enough for him to claim the SBI USMNT Man of the Match while tying Landon Donovan atop the USMNT’s goalscoring chart.

He wasn’t the only standout performer for the U.S. tonight. Darlington Nagbe, Matt Besler, Jozy Altidore, and Tim Howard all put in big performances when the team needed it the most, but Dempsey’s efforts earned him Saturday’s honors.

Who was your USMNT Man of the Match? Which players stepped it up in this Gold Cup semi-final?

Share your thoughts below.

20 comments
  • Socceroo

    Dempsey leading the way again, just like he did in 2014 in Brazil and last year in Copa America. Will he end up scoring in Russia? Only 3 players in history have scored in 4 World Cups…

    Liked by 1 person

  • quozzel

    Like Arriola but I think he’s more Qatar ’22 – Gawds I can’t stand saying that – than Russia ’18. Lotta hustle and drive and relentlessness, just needs a little polish and finish before I’m comfortable putting him in against the world.

    As for the rest of the midfield it’s coming into place though I still hate that empty bucket. Nagbe is the guy on the left, put him with Pulisic and somebody of comparable quality on the right side – the best-looking guy I’ve seen thus far was honestly Lletget before he got mowed down – and we start looking very different. Scary and capable, even.

    And Dempsey. We need to wrap him in bubble wrap. I said after Brazil I hoped he could be our Miroslav Klose because his game wasn’t based on speed or even strength, just skill and understanding and chutzpah and I thought he’d only get better with age and he has. It just means something when you have a weapon like that to pull out.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Gary Page

    I said this a couple of days ago and it’s still true. You ignore/underestimate Dempsey at your peril. And that perfect pass to Altidore along with his pass to Lichaj last game shows he is more productive than Nafgbe. You know, that irregular heartbeat was, in a way, a disguised blessing. It gave him a lot of time off and since he recovered, he seems as good as before. That time off might have lengthened his career a bit.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TheFrenchOne

      Why are you comparing the left mid to the second striker? Nagbe and Deuce both had good games. And let’s not forget that Deuce came on and played against a tired CR side, while Nagbe played the whole game and made many great surging runs to push the game forward.

      Liked by 1 person

  • johnnyrazor

    I was trying to think who had a match to forget, and I had a hard time thinking of someone. Omar had one big screw up and one kind of his fault. Zusi didn’t really do anything that hurt, but he didn’t add a lot offensively which should be his strong suit. Anybody else have someone? The guy in charge of ball boys according to Arena.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nate Dollars

      I’d say arriola, but that was mostly because he had to stay back to help zusi, so not really his fault. Pretty complete performance from all our guys, and gives us good momentum going into the final.

      Like

      • Nate Dollars

        It seemed to me that’s how arena set it up, with Acosta pushing forward when arriola tracked back. Not that I think it worked all that well; I think the game-changer was when arriola got pulled, with Omar instead shading over to help out zusi. It left us more exposed at the back, but our increased attack more than compensated for it.

        Like

    • Old School

      Omar had one big screw up and one kind of his fault.

      Omar has one of those nearly every game – as many of us point out each time he’s the subject of his “ranking” place within the squad.

      Like

  • David M

    What is very frustrating to me is that while Nagbe is so good with the ball, his movement is excellent, his speed, etc… all that kind of disappears in and around the box when his final touch, be it a pass or a shot attempt, is usually horrible. I don’t really understand that.

    Like

    • Old School

      I don’t really understand that.

      He’s had the tools since college, but doesn’t appear to have the complete package. It’s not an insult to suggest that’s probably why he’s still within MLS.

      Like

  • Lost in Space

    As great as Dempsey is, when everyone is healthy and available, he’ll be relegated to the role of Super-Sub or situational starter. The guys like Jozy, Wood, Pulisic, & Nagbe will carry the bulk of the attacking load….tiring out the oppositions defense….than Clint can come in around the 60-70 min mark to provide that special moment.

    As the European season gets underway I think there are likely to be a number of players who’ll force their way into consideration against some of the players currently with the Gold Cup squad. We all know that Cameron, Brooks, Yedlin, Pulisic & Fabian are all locks; but guys like ArJo, Boyd, Gooch, Green, Hyndman, Saief, Miazga, & CCV are all positioned to make cases for themselves. A strong start to the season and these guys can raise their standing quickly, giving them a real chance to overtake Bedoya, Zardes, Morris, Dwyer, Arriola, etc…

    Like

    • Socceroo

      I’m not so sure about that. It seems that Bruce values familiarity. Will he really give anyone whom he hasn’t already called in a chance for Russia?

      I would be shocked if he calls in Arjo, Green, Boyd, or CCV before Russia. I think the only “new to Bruce” players from Europe that he *might* call in before Russia are Williams, Hyndman, and McKinnie.

      Like

      • TheFrenchOne

        I don’t get the pass some people give Hyndman. I know that he had a good U20 WC a couple years ago, but what has he done to warrant frequent mentions about inclusions for future WC?

        Like

      • Old School

        @FrenchOne: Backup Quarterback Syndrome.

        Our fellow fans are riddled with it indefinitely.

        Like

      • Lost in Space

        With the way some of the “Familiar” players have been playing (Bedoya, McCarty, etc….) Bruce better be willing to look at everyone/anyone who is playing well. Especially if they are playing in Europe. McKennie, Gooch, Green, Hyndman, Saief, and others if playing well should have every opportunity to claim a spot on the roster.
        The WC is still a ways away….some players form could easily dip….or there could be injuries that will allow someone a shot. Anyway you look at it if someone is in good form it shouldn’t matter…especially considering we’re talking about guys who’ll likely be back-ups, not starters.

        Like

  • Dennis

    Bruce will likely call about 30 players into his pre-WC camp next year. He will not ignore what he sees there. That means many young players will have a last chance to impress Bruce and move into the final 23. Presumably by then Arena will have a preferred starting 11 (or at least 13-15 players from whom he will pick the starters based upon the opponent).

    When you consider that injuries will likely limit which players can be considered, I expect that 5-8 players whom people (and even Arena) are not taking too seriously right now could be on the final roster.

    Like

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