Sounders Insider

Dempsey: "Not there yet," but happy with parts of debut; says MLS is good league and getting better

Here's some of what newly signed Clint Dempsey had to say about his Sounders debut Saturday in a 2-1 win at Toronto:

Thoughts on your play tonight…I wasn’t going to start, I’m still working on my fitness. I’ve only played in two games and in those two games I played one 45 minute and one 60 minute so I’m still trying to get my fitness there. I’m not there yet but I was happy with the touches that I got tonight and the work that I put in, and the chances that I created and hopefully they will start falling for me in the games to come.

Did it feel just to get on the field and play? Yeah for sure. There has been a lot of talk, a lot of speculation, a lot of media stuff for me but what I enjoy is being on the field and playing. It’s what I dreamed about as a kid, being a professional soccer player, and to be able to do that when you are on the field it is home. So it was good to get on the field and get some touches, mix it up with the boys and to get familiar with this league again.

How does it feel to be back in the MLS? The league is good, it’s getting better. The quality and the competitiveness is getting better. You are seeing more soccer specific stadiums, you’re seeing bigger crowds come out to games and you’re seeing more franchises pop up in MLS so it shows that there is an interest for it, it shows that there is a demand for it, and it’s good to be back here and to help continue to grow the game here.

Below is some of what coach Sigi Schmid had to say about Dempsey's debut:

What did you think of Clint Dempsey? I think Clint did well. Obviously he hasn’t played in a game in two and half a weeks or so, so once you get your rhythm back it will make a big difference. His understanding of our players and our guys is something that will grow as well. We ended up having to bring him in a little sooner than expected but I was happy with him.

Did you think he (Clint Dempsey) was 60 minutes fit? We told him when he went in that the timing when it happened it was such that I didn’t want to bring someone else on because then I would have to make another sub. I just told Clint to manage his way through those 15 minutes, you didn’t really get a proper warm-up, make sure you don’t pull anything and then right away he ended up having to make that 70 yard run where he gets in almost with Eddie (Johnson). But he managed his way through, he’s a veteran player and then he was fine for the second half.

Considering he only had a couple training sessions with the team how do you think he did with the group? I thought he did alright and I think it’s going to get better.