Bruce Arena is apparently the guy who's credited with first saying "Clint Dempsey tries shit." Hopefully, you'll pardon our use of a mild expletive on this family-friendly site, but after watching the United States international train for the first time, I honestly can't come up with a better way of describing him.
Despite the fact that he's still very much in preseason form, hadn't even trained in close to two weeks and is recovering from a virus that kept him out of Tuesday's training, it was easy to see the qualities that have made him the greatest American goalscorer in English Premier League history. Not only was he banging in goals during the small-sided scrimmages, but he was constantly showing the kind of creativity and craftiness that he's been known for.
Of course, this was somewhat to be expected. We've all seen Dempsey play many times. We've seen him score a ton of goals. But it's still pretty amazing to see it on the training ground, up close and personal and when nothing is really on the line. Whether it was cheeky backheels or deft touches to maintain possession, he was simply "trying shit" during much of the nearly two-hour session.
As for how that translates into games, that's still something we'll have to find out. Dempsey's skill set has allowed him to move all over the field from both wide midfield positions to the middle to forward. It might not always seem that way on TV, but Dempsey is actually pretty big by soccer standards and easily has the build to play up top if that was required.
There were not full-sided scrimmages on Tuesday, so it's hard to take too much from the personnel that was being used, but it's probably worth noting that Dempsey was playing on the same team as Obafemi Martins and Eddie Johnson. That at least suggests the Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid is going to at least try to get those three on the field together. Again, not a huge surprise, but a positive development for anyone hoping to see the Sounders' three most talented scorers all playing.