In Sounders’ 3-0 loss to FC Dallas, Clint Dempsey shows he’s no leader
Already down Will Bruin, Nico Lodiero, and Jordan Morris, the Sounders were at a significant disadvantage against an FC Dallas that’s lost only two of its last 20 home games. So it didn’t help things when Clint Dempsey threw an elbow in the first half, earning himself another career red card.
As a result, the Sounders were bested 3-0 by FC Dallas.
It was clear in the opening minutes that the Sounders were going to struggle offensively. Essentially playing with six midfielders, they weren’t particularly threatening on the attack. Dempsey, as he tends to do, was playing too deep. Frustrated and likely targeted in the first 37 minutes, Dempsey threw an elbow at Jacori Hayes in the box and was sent off after video review. He’ll miss the next game against the Montreal Impact.
At halftime, Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer implied Dempsey’s action was “stupid,” but that’s an understatement. He knows Video Assistant Referees exist and he’s unlikely to get away with this kind of dirty play. And that’s exactly what it was: dirty.
The team – and the fan base – deserve better from Dempsey, who has a tendency to play selfishly. As the team’s only striker, risking a red card with such a depleted squad isn’t what team leaders do. If only Dempsey had the character and workrate of a Kelvin Leerdam or Cristian Roldan, who knows what this team would be capable of?
Reasons to Worry: Sounders keep making costly mistakes in midfield. If Bruin is still injured, the Sounders go into their next home game without a single first-choice striker. With a bye week, the Sounders may stew in the post-lost disappointment. Magnus Eikrem doesn’t play like a starter.
Reasons for Hope: Lamar Neagle has the talent and character to start. Leerdam returned from injury to near perfect form. We’re into a bye week, which gives Bruin and Lodiero more time to get healthy. MLS forgives slow starts.