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March 27, 2014 at 12:23 PM

Sounders’ Clint Dempsey on his suspension: ‘Disappointed. I don’t agree with it.’

Sounders FC star Clint Dempsey was made available to reporters after Thursday’s practice, his first interview since receiving a two-game suspension last week for a below-the-belt smack on Toronto’s Mark Bloom. Dempsey is halfway through the suspension and will complete it by sitting out Saturday’s home game against Columbus.

Here is a transcript of the quick interview:

*     *     *

(What was your reaction to the suspension?) “Disappointed. I don’t agree with it. It is what it is and move on.”

(Was it nice to see USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann lobby on your behalf after that game?) “Yeah, for sure. It’s always good to know that the manager has your back. I appreciate that, and all I can do is keep working hard, keep working on my fitness after training and make sure that I play well when with I’m with the national team — like I’ve always done in the past — and make sure I keep playing well with the national team moving forward and pay him back for his faith in me.”

(How much do you feel the league needs to be a better job of cutting down the fouls you’re taking?) “I think lots of players get fouled. I think maybe giving cards earlier in games and maybe you won’t see as many fouls and you’ll see more of a rhythm to the game for spectators to watch. I think it’s important to protect every player. The sooner you start getting cards for reckless fouls, then it cuts down on a lot of things and it makes the game more exciting to watch, because there is more free-flow to it.”

(It’s more than a week away, but Portland will be your first game back. Have you thought about that yet?) “No. I’m thinking about this weekend, hoping the boys do well. I’m excited they got three points in Montreal. So just looking to this weekend. You only look to the next game.”

(How did your experience in the Portland rivalry compare to other rivalries?) “It’s a good rivalry. They’re a team that plays a good style of soccer. I think it’s exciting. It’s good for the league and it’s exciting to be part of those rivalries. I think it’s good for spectators to watch.”

(From one rivalry to another: What’s the Mexico game going to be like?) “It’s always exciting to represent your country, but it’s a friendly. It’s not a World Cup qualifier, so there’s not as much pressure as there would be if it were a World Cup qualifying game. But it’s still exciting to represent your country and to play against your rivals. You always want to do well when you’re putting on the jersey for the U.S.”

(Is there any way you can contribute when you’re not on the field?) “That’s a difficult one, because there’s not much you can do when you’re not out there. Just work in training and try to make it difficult for them. When they’re working on the starting XI and the movements, you try to imitate the opposition in terms of the formation and how they play and get more of a look on how to prepare. That’s all you can really do.”

| More in Sounders FC, Stop and chats

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