Sounders Insider

Dempsey on home debut: "Crowd was awesome"

Here's what Clint Dempsey had to say after making his home debut tonight in Seattle's 1-0 win over Portland. (On making his home debut…) “Yeah, the crowd was awesome. Anytime you play in front of 67,000 [67,385] fans, it’s always like a dream come true. When you’re a kid, that’s what you dream about. Yeah, they were behind us the whole way and I think them pushing us helped us get that victory, get those three points. Now it’s about getting on a good run of form, getting the points we need, and making the playoffs.” (On how Seattle-Portland compares to the other derby matches he’s played in…) “It’s up there. It’s physical, it’s reckless challenges, it’s getting frustrated, it’s battling through it, showing character—that’s what you have to have in these types of games. Being able to push yourself to the limit, but not too far—you don’t want to get a red card or stuff like that. I thought the team showed a lot of character, kept a clean sheet, and Eddie—that’s what he does. He comes up in big moments and helps you score. I’m happy with the three points and it’s always good to beat your rivals.” (On the physicality of the game…) “It comes along with it. It’s going to be physically played. It’s a man’s game. You just have to keep getting up and try to figure out ways to avoid challenges and try to get good looks—try to play people through, try to get shots on goal. I’m happy with the way things are going. I feel like I’m getting stronger every game in fitness and my quality of touches, and the looks that I’m getting, and it’s only a matter of time before it starts falling in the net for me.” (On if he thought Portland made it a point to be physical with him…) “They’re a team that’s aggressive, but also a team that has quality that. They did a good job of moving the ball around and keeping possession. For us, I thought we did a better job in the second half in the way that we moved the ball around, the way we kept it in the attacking third, the way that we created chances. We had a lot of corners and we got some set pieces from fouls, and that’s what we ended up scoring on. It’s always going to be like that when you play in derby games where you’re playing against your rivals, nobody wants to lose; everybody’s going to show that they came to play. Today I thought we had more quality and thought we deserved the win.” (On if the atmosphere lived up to the hype…) “Yes. The fans were great. It’s awesome to play here, to play in front of 67,000 [67,385]. Like I said, it’s what you dream about as a kid. Having their support, it helps you. They’re the 12th man. We just have to keep going, stay confident, keep pushing, and that will help us get the goal.” (On if the atmosphere is comparable to what he’d seen in England…) “I’d say it’s comparable to some things you see, but at the same time I’d say it’s better. It’s definitely more fans than what I played in front of at Fulham—their stadium didn’t hold that many. That’s why we’re top 30 in the world as far as attendance. Playing in front of 67,000 [67,385] fans, that’s not something everybody gets to experience.” (On his chances…) “Yeah, I tried. I had a little ninja-kick to try to put the ball in, wasn’t able to get there. I had a bicycle […] I had a header cleared off the line. I had a shot the keeper saved for a corner. Had a heavy touch in the first half, I could have done a little better with that. All in all I am getting good looks, just a matter of time before goals and assists start coming, but I happy with the touches that I was getting. More importantly I am happy the way the team played and getting three points. I don’t care if I score at all, as long as we win. That’s the most important thing.” (On transitioning to the team…) “You’re getting used to the way they play. (I am) getting more training sessions and being able to build that team chemistry. Also my fitness is getting there. I am trying to play catch up. These guys are in midseason form and I’m preseason, so I’m trying to hit the ground running. But I am feeling good, getting stronger every game. The team has done well. I’ve played in three games, we have two wins and a loss, so hopefully we can build on those wins and get the points necessary to get to the playoffs.”

(On playing this game after two games on the road…) “It’s not about getting games out of the way, it’s about enjoying it. I hope that there were more games. That’s why I want to help this team and trying to get that push for the playoffs. Once you get in the playoffs, anything can happen. But I am enjoying being in the games I’ve been a part of, and I always look forward to the next game. The most important game is the one that’s coming up and making sure you get the right points.” (On playing with national team members Johnson and Evans…) “Yeah, I would say them, Shalrie Joseph, Marcus Hahnemann, those are all guys I’ve played with before. I’ve played with Alonso, he’s run enough for two people, Djimi Traore, who has had a great career, Obafemi Martins, I can just name the whole team, really. It’s good to play with players you’ve played with before. It’s made it an easy transition to the team because I haven’t felt like an outsider. I have been able to joke around from the get-go, so it’s great to be playing here and great to play with guys you’ve played with before.”