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Clint Dempsey officially retires

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Sounders and USMNT legend has played his last match.

Max Aquino / Sounder at Heart

Clint Dempsey officially announced his retirement on Wednesday. The 35-year-old had not played in over a month and had not even suited up in the Seattle Sounders’ last five games due to what the team called a “lower-back injury.”

“After a lot of thought, my family and I have decided that this is the right time for me to step away from the game,” Dempsey said in a team release. “I’d like to thank all of the teammates, coaches and support staff that I’ve worked with throughout my career. It has always been my dream to make it as a pro. I’m grateful to have been on this ride. I would like to thank all of the fans who have supported me throughout my career with the New England Revolution, Fulham, Tottenham, Seattle Sounders and the U.S. Men’s National Team. Y’all have always made me feel at home, and it is something that I will always remember.”

Although there had been some hints that something like this could be in the offing, the news still comes as a bit sudden and unexpected. There was also hope that, while this was generally accepted to be Dempsey’s final season, he would still be capable of making a final appearance or two.

Instead, the final vision Sounders fans will have of Dempsey on the field is of him hitting the post on a shot from midfield on an open net. He ends his career tied with Fredy Montero for the most regular-season goals in franchise history.

Similarly, this closes the book on a storied United States national team career, where he’s also tied for the most goals with Landon Donovan. As luck would have it, Dempsey also hit the post in his final USMNT appearance in what turned out to be a loss to Trinidad and Tobago.

Those events should not overshadow what was a remarkable career by any standard. Dempsey finishes with more than 150 goals as a professional, plus 57 more with the USMNT. Among those professional goals are 72 while playing for Fulham and Tottenham, the most by any American in an overseas league. He is also the only American to score in three separate World Cups and is the country’s all-time leader in competitive goals (40).

Dempsey’s career was feared to be over in 2016 when he was forced to miss the final third of the season due to heart issues. But he was able to return last year, leading the Sounders with 15 goals and five assists in MLS play. Three of those goals came in the postseason, adding to his franchise-best total of seven.

This was widely believed to be his final season, even before the back injury, but it had not gone as planned. After scoring against Chivas de Guadalajara in CONCACAF Champions League, Dempsey endured a 10-match scoring drought that finally ended on June 23. He’s only made one start and three appearances since then.

Clint Dempsey Sounders goals

Goals Opponent Date Place type primary assist Video
Goals Opponent Date Place type primary assist Video
1 LA Galaxy 10/27/2013 CenturyLink Field right foot volley Neagle Watch
2 Toronto FC 3/15/2014 CenturyLink Field right foot shot Martins Watch
3 Portland Timbers 4/5/2014 Providence Park left foot shot Watch
4 Portland Timbers 4/5/2014 Providence Park right foot shot Martins Watch
5 Portland Timbers 4/5/2014 Providence Park penalty Watch
6 FC Dallas 4/12/2014 FC Dallas Stadium free kick Watch
7 FC Dallas 4/12/2014 FC Dallas Stadium left foot shot Barrett Watch
8 Colorado Rapids 4/26/2014 CenturyLink Field right footed rebound Watch
9 Colorado Rapids 4/26/2014 CenturyLink Field header Marshall Watch
10 Portland Timbers 7/13/2014 CenturyLink Field right foot volley Pineda Watch
11 Portland Timbers 8/24/2014 Providence Park left foot shot Martins Watch
12 Colorado Rapids 8/30/2014 CenturyLink Field right foot volley Pappa Watch
* Philadelphia Union Talon Energy Stadium left foot shot Martins Watch
13 New York Red Bulls 9/20/2014 Red Bull Arena left foot shot Neagle Watch
14 Chivas USA 9/27/2014 CenturyLink Field left foot shot Martins Watch
15 Colorado Rapids 10/5/2014 Dick's Sporting Goods Park penalty Watch
16 LA Galaxy 10/19/2014 Home Depot Center left foot shot Martins Watch
& LA Galaxy CenturyLink Field right foot shot Watch
17 New England Revolution 3/8/2015 CenturyLink Field penalty Watch
18 New England Revolution 3/8/2015 CenturyLink Field walk in right Martins Watch
19 San Jose Earthquakes 3/14/2015 CenturyLink Field rebound header Watch
20 Timbers 4/26/2015 CenturyLink Field rebound tap in Watch
21 New York City FC 5/3/2015 Yankee Stadium right foot shot Pappa Watch
22 Columbus Crew 5/9/2015 Crew Stadium left foot shot Pappa Watch
23 Crew 5/9/2015 Crew Stadium rebound right foot Watch
24 Toronto FC 9/5/2015 CenturyLink Field rebound right foot Watch
25 Real Salt Lake 10/25/2015 CenturyLink Field right foot volley Martins Watch
26 Real Salt Lake 10/25/2015 CenturyLink Field rebound right foot Watch
& LA Galaxy 10/30/2015 CenturyLink Field rebound right foot Watch
& FC Dallas CenturyLink Field free kick Watch
% Club America CenturyLink Field free kick Watch
% Club America CenturyLink Field header Ivanschitz Watch
27 Montreal Impact 4/2/2016 CenturyLink Field header Ivanschitz Watch
28 San Jose Earthquakes 5/7/2016 CenturyLink Field right foot shot Friberg Watch
29 FC Dallas 7/13/2016 CenturyLink Field penalty Watch
30 Orlando City 8/7/2016 Camping World Stadium right foot shot Mears Watch
31 Orlando City 8/7/2016 Camping World Stadium right foot shot Morris Watch
32 Orlando City 8/7/2016 Camping World Stadium right foot shot Morris Watch
33 Portland Timbers 8/21/2016 CenturyLink Field penalty Watch
34 Portland Timbers 8/21/2016 CenturyLink Field left foot shot Roldan Watch
35 Houston Dynamo 3/4/2017 BBVA Compass Stadium left foot rebound Watch
36 New York Red Bulls 3/19/2017 CenturyLink Field penalty Watch
37 LA Galaxy 4/23/2017 Home Depot Center header Lodeiro Watch
38 Chicago Fire 5/13/2017 Toyota Stadium left footed shot Roldan Watch
39 Portland Timbers 6/25/2017 Providence Park header Torres Watch
40 Colorado Rapids 7/4/2017 Dick's Sporting Goods Park left foot shot Jones Watch
41 Colorado Rapids 7/4/2017 Dick's Sporting Goods Park left foot half-volley Bruin Watch
42 Minnesota United 8/5/2017 Gopher Stadium header Marshall Watch
43 Minnesota United 8/5/2017 Gopher Stadium right foot shot Jones Watch
44 Sporting KC 8/12/2017 CenturyLink Field header Morris Watch
45 Minnesota United 8/20/2017 CenturyLink Field Penalty Watch
46 Vancouver Whitecaps 9/27/2017 CenturyLink Field Left foot shot Lodeiro Watch
& Vancouver Whitecaps 11/2/2017 CenturyLink Field Left foot shot Shipp Watch
& Vancouver Whitecaps 11/2/2017 CenturyLink Field right foot volley Rodriguez Watch
& Houston Dynamo 11/30/2017 CenturyLink Field right foot volley Jones Watch
% Chivas Guadalajara 3/7/2018 CenturyLink Field right foot volley Wingo Watch
47 Chicago Fire 6/23/18 CenturyLink Field sliding shot Bruin Watch

(Only regular season goals are numbered. & denotes MLS Cup playoff games, % denotes friendlies, and * denotes US Open Cup matches)