Sounders FC star Clint Dempsey spoke with reporters after Tuesday’s practice following his hat trick in Portland and winning MLS Player of the Week.
Dempsey was asked what has been different this season as it relates to his production so far.
“I think for me it was the opportunity to go on loan to get my body right,” he said. “It really helped me in terms of coming back here and feeling sharp and hitting the ground running. I think it was difficult for me playing catch-up a little bit coming off preseason with Tottenham and trying to jump into a league where everybody was already past midseason form, and adjusting to playing games and the travel and the turf — the toll that it takes on you. I picked up a few injuries and it just seemed like I was always trying to climb a mountain to get things right. But now I feel good. I feel like I’m in a rhythm. I think because of that fitness and feeling sharp and feeling strong that I was able to come in here and have more of an impact on games. Also the team, us playing together and people looking for you in the final third. I think this season I’m getting more looks in the final third, people are playing me in, where if you look at the games in the past, I really wasn’t getting clear-cut chances in games. And that was frustrating. This time I’m getting better looks, people are trying to find me more and I’m about to get on the end of things and put them in the back of the net.”
So what has led to teammates finding him more in the final third?
“Probably me complaining,” he joked.
And is this the most comfortable he’s felt in Seattle since his MLS return in August?
“Yeah, I would say so,” Dempsey said, “because I’ve played three games — four goals and one assist — so I’m in a good rhythm. I felt good going into the end of the season, after the getting the goal against L.A. … and getting the assist against Colorado in the first playoff game. I feel like I was starting to get my body right. I was coming off that shoulder injury and was feeling good going into those games. But right now is the best that I’ve played because of the confidence level that I’m at but also the fitness level that I’m at.”
Here is video of the whole interview: