Sounders Insider

Dempsey led Sounders in shots in first start

Seattle's 3-1 loss to Houston tonight also marked the first Sounders start for designated player Clint Dempsey, who was back playing in his home state.Dempsey went 90 minutes, took a team-high five shots and put two of them on goal.

Here's some of what he had to say after the match:

On adjusting to fellow-forward Lamar Neagle and other teammates: It was fine. It was good to get 90 minutes. This was the first 90 minutes I’ve had in a long time. I thought we created enough chances tonight that we should have scored more goals. I had some good looks, I might should have put one away. But we had chances, so I’m not frustrated with that aspect.

On his fitness: You’ve got to play games to get fitness. So far I’ve only played two competitive games since I was off with the national team. It’s good to get my first 90 minutes, and fitness is getting there. I’m still working on that sharpness, that final shot in front of goal – I was lacking that a little bit tonight. I like to think I could have put at least one of those opportunites away.

On any differences in MLS refereeing that might affect his game: No. No.

On playing Portland next weekend: We’ve just got to keep working hard. The next game is always the most important game. You’ve got to pick yourself up. We’ve got to maximize our points from here on out. We want to make sure that we make the playoffs. If you don’t make the playoffs, then you can’t push for the MLS Cup.

On feeling at home in Texas: Yeah, it was fine. But just prepare for every game the same: You try to go out and prepare yourself to win, and we came up short.

On the team showing fight: We came out early. We put them under pressure. We got some chances. We hit the host. One just a little bit wide. One went over the bar. We had a lot of set pieces. We had a lot of corners. We put them under pressure, but we weren’t able to get the equalizing goal. And then to concede like we did on the third, I think, we can’t defend like that. We can’t concede goals like that. That was a weak goal.

SHALRIE JOSEPHOn playing with Dempsey: "He played me some balls that I need to do better to get myself in a bnetter position and keep possession for the team. He's just a great player overall, btu we have to get him the ball a little bit on top of the 18. me and ozzie have to do a better job defensively of covering more space and getting the ball to our creative guys. Just trying to get goals. If we get early goals it will help us to relax a little bit and play better soccer."