Clint Dempsey's had a few matches against the Vancouver Whitecaps under his belt since joining the Seattle Sounders in 2013, so he knows a little something about what it's like to play such a fierce rival in a packed CenturyLink Field. "We're at home, we want to be dominant here. I think it's going to be a tough game, add on the Cascadia rivalry [aspect] and the games we've had against them in the past. I think it'll be an exciting game for the fans." Dempsey doesn't see either team playing for a draw, as both have gone 0-2 to start the season and will hope to kickstart their season with a win over a Cascadia rival.
While that was pretty standard Clint Dempsey talk, he actually started to open up a bit when the interview turned a bit more tactical
On Andreas Ivanschitz:
Dempsey spoke about some of his teammates, trying to figure out what the Sounders can do to get into a groove to start scoring goals and winning games. Regarding Andreas Ivanschitz, who's had two fairly quiet performances in the Sounders' two league matches thus far, Dempsey said "he's a great player. [We] rotate positions in the 4-3-3, whether I'm out wide or coming inside and taking over his role. He's a player that has quality on the ball, he's a player that has come up with big goals for us, especially last year against LA. Happy to have him here."
On his role in the 4-3-3:
The Sounders have had some growing pains tactically since changing to a 4-3-3 formation and then losing a key piece in Obafemi Martins, but Dempsey expects the team to continue to adapt and eventually find some rhythm on the pitch. For him personally, he said that "against America, I felt really good. I was getting some good looks. Since then I haven't had many chances. That's chemistry, that's us doing a better job of keeping the ball in the final third and moving it around and trying to [create] chances for each other."
On Jordan Morris and how they play together:
Regarding Jordan Morris and how they've tried to develop chemistry as a striking force, Dempsey said that "we're trying to figure each other out and how we play, I'm more of the style that likes to link up with people, give 'n go, here and there and he's more of a runner, getting behind the line. Just mixing it up, finding each other and getting on the same page in the game." Dempsey sees Morris as a hard worker, and fully expects him to improve and develop as the season progresses.
On Morris' future:
In Dempsey's eyes, Morris has a bright future, whose career won't be defined by a single achievement or mistake--just like his own. "It's a rollercoaster, you're going to have highs and lows and just kind of keep a steady head. The work that you put in, that's what gives you confidence and it doesn't really matter what people say. You can't be worrying about the things that you'll do wrong, you have to worry about the things that you'll do right and where you can go from there."
How he works on his own game:
The first two games of the season haven't been ideal for Dempsey as a player either, something that he rectifies by studying game tape with teammates and looking for things he could have done differently. He looks for "points in the game, where maybe instead of crossing the ball here, could [his teammate] find me on the inside, could I make a different run, is there something that I'm doing in terms of the runs that I'm making, maybe I need to gamble more on crosses and not try to wait and see where the ball's going and then make the run but just try to go and guess before it's even crossed because I'm just not really getting on the end of things. I think it's just getting on the ball more and having more circulation in the attacking third."
On what the team can improve on:
Dempsey hopes to see the Sounders retain the ball better, like when a cross doesn't find a target in the box, the attackers should try to bring the ball back out through midfield and restart the attack, maybe "try to get it out wide again or try to go through the middle with give 'n go passes to try and create chances at the top of the box. We haven't really seen that, so hopefully that's something we can correct and get right and try to break teams down not only the outside but also in the middle."
On what he can do better:
It's easy to see that Dempsey hasn't found his form this season, but the player himself sees this more clearly than anyone else. "I try to get touches on the ball, and try to get involved in the game. It's [about] trying to pick your moments: when to check and get touches, and when it doesn't make sense to drop." There has been some criticism leveled and Dempsey that he's been dropping too deep instead of getting in the box and trying to score, something that Dempsey tries to do only when necessary. "If I'm getting the ball in the attacking third, I'm not going to drop like that. I'm going to be getting in the pockets and getting in the holes. That comes with us having better possession in the attacking third."
On the Sounders being 0-2:
Dempsey sees the Sounders' slow start as nothing to be alarmed about, because to him it's better to start slow and pick up steam when it matters rather than starting the season strong and being unable to stay consistent through the end of the season and playoffs. "We're not waiting to assess, we're already being proactive and not being reactive in terms of how we evaluate games and how we study tape and figure out the situation and how we're going to strengthen the team and how we're getting the best product on the field for the fans and for the city."