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Donovan: Dempsey ‘much more impressive’ while approaching USMNT goal record

Photo by Fevre/Presse Sports via US PRESSWIRE

Former U.S. Men’s National Team star Landon Donovan is fiercely competitive, but even he has to admit that long-time teammate Clint Dempsey’s run towards his all-time goalscoring record has been incredibly impressive.

Donovan heaped praise onto Dempsey, who is just one goal shy of the former’s all-time USMNT record, stating that the circumstances of Demspey’s run to the record make it that much more special, he told

“I’m very proud of the record, there’s no question,” Donovan said. “But when you put it in context, I don’t know the numbers but I know Clint has fewer penalty goals than I had. I know he’s done it in less caps than I have. I know he’s probably done it in less years than I have.”

“And you have to remember that he was overseas for a lot of years, so he didn’t get to come in all the time and play friendlies in January against the Norwegian B team or Barbados,” Donovan added. “So in my opinion he’s done it in more difficult circumstances and that makes it that much more impressive.”

While Donovan has held the record since he notched his 35th to pass Eric Wynalda in 2008, Dempsey’s assault on his former teammate’s mark of 57 goals has been relentless. As expected, Donovan is right on all accounts with regards to the speed at which Dempsey has caught up. Donovan recorded his 57 goals over 157 appearances and 15 years from 2000-14. Dempsey has surpassed both marks with his current total of 56 goals coming in just 133 appearances and 14 years from 2004-2017. 19 of Donovan’s goals came in friendlies while Dempsey scored just 15 in similar matches.

“I knew there was something special when I first saw him play, but I would have never imagined that he would be able to be this consistent for this long just because he played so hard,” Donovan said. “And when you play that intense and that hard, and put yourself in danger that often, you would expect that you would have a lot more injuries. But he’s been remarkably healthy throughout his career.

“And he’s been able to keep himself going, and that to me is unbelievably impressive.”

While Donovan will forever be a USMNT legend and is well within the argument for the best ever to represent his country, even he can acknowledge that what Dempsey has done has in some ways even eclipsed his own extraordinary accomplishments. Dempsey will shoot to overtake Donovan Thursday night against Trinidad & Tobago and, failing that, Sunday at Mexico.



  1. The Klinsmann Jr tweet that got lost over the HHHHAAAAAHHHHAAAA tweet was something like, “he doesn’t think Davies is better, just thinks he will work harder”. Based upon that I believe Donovan was left off in favor of Davies. Or more accurately, Klinsmann just didnt want to take Donovan so he took a guy like Davies who had one weapon, his crosses/free kicks, that were international caliber, but the rest of his game was not.

    • Well 17 have been since Landon retired from international soccer and two were in Brazil so that gets us down to 37. He did not assist on any of Dempsey’s 11 goals in 2014 qualifying and the friendlies with Germany and Belgium in 2012, which gets us down to 26 at most. When I got back into 2011 none of the stats for friendlies I found had assists listed before the Italy match. LD did assist on one of Clint’s 2011 GC goals. So I was only able to find one assist in Clint’s final 37 goals so not as many as you would think actually. Not sure about his first 19 and stats going back that far are hard to come by so I’m giving up. I’m sure they’ll mention it on the air tonight.

  2. Most importantly for me right now. I want him playing against Mexico, because he scores in big games.

    ps. I am not saying Donovan didn’t, he scored one of the biggest/best goals in US history.

  3. LD is currently tied for 28th all-time in international goals, and was just recently passed by Messi who now has 58.

    Dempsey is currently sitting in 3rd among active players behind Messi (58) & Ronaldo (71), with Rooney (53) and Neymar (52) chasing.

  4. LD couldn’t have been classier with his praise for Demps and its much deserved. I too agree that Donovan should be looked at as a better overall player and Demps a better scorer!

  5. What’s he suppose to say, he gave facts and I think he took such a bad beating from people after the whole omission from the last WC and him and JKs feud that he spoke wisely. When I say he took a beating from fans I mean that it seemed split 50/50 whether u agreed or disagreed and u don’t think he ever could have imagined not being the golden boy for US soccer.

    • 50/50? I would argue that the vast majority (players, coaches, fans, media) felt that he shouldn’t have been left off the team. It was pretty clear from reading, watching and listening to soccer websites, TV and radio shoes at the time.

      • Agreed. Seeing him left off the roster was one of the few moments in sports where I was truly dumbfounded. No matter how I looked at it, I could not see any justifiable way of leaving Donovan off the roster.

      • I think perhaps he was references LD’s comments in the last few years regarding Klinsmann not the actually cutting from the squad. That discussion on if comments were warranted or sour grapes fell closer to a fifty fifty split. I would agree there wasn’t a lot of people claiming it was the clear right decision at the time. Although it is interesting that the idea of dumping aging players just because of their age and going with unproven younger players has become a very popular idea on this site among posters.

      • There was NO acceptable excuse for leaving Donovan off that roster. Klinsmann was petty and that was his payback, pure and simple. Taking Green and Wondo but no Donovan was a disgrace.

      • @usa_fan – most fans/media were shocked that Donovan was left off the WC roster, but I think most felt he was left off for Wondo & Daves. 2 players who were basically in the same age bracket as Donovan with less experience, ability, or versatility.
        @johnnyrazor – I don’t believe in dumping players strictly on age, but I do believe that if you’ve got a young player who is as good as an older player than you should be giving that time to the younger player. Case in point….Wondo….There are a number of strikers in our pool who are every bit as talented as Wondo, but for some reason Wondo continues to be called up. Zusi, Rimando, Gonzalez, and Bedoya are other examples of aging players who have significant competition from younger options who are their equal.

  6. Dempsey also plays further up front than Donovan. Donovan also has a lot more assists. You could argue Dempsey is a better scorer but Donovan is a better all around footballer that people pay to see. Rember talking to someone from Honduras and he said when we play USA everyone is watching to see what Donovan does.

    • I agree that Donovan was the better player and Dempsey the better goal scorer. Very classy of Donovan. I wish him well and hope he gets that team up and running in San Diego. I bet he gets his before Beckham.


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