Sounders FC @ Houston Dynamo
August 17, 2013, 6 pm PT; BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston
TV/Radio: KONG 6/16; No English Radio; KOMO2 (Spanish); La Gran D 99.3 FM (Spanish); MLS Live (Online outside the Seattle area)
Sounders FC supporters always travel in great numbers. At any given road match for Seattle, the Emerald City Supporters and the pockets of fans living around the country occupy the stands donning the Rave Green and providing as much of a home away from home as they can.
On Saturday in Houston when the Sounders meet the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium, there will be a group of around 40 fans that will be brand new to the Seattle road crew, but they just may be the guests of honor. The additional fans will travel from Nacogdoches, Texas; there to welcome back to Texas the latest Sounders FC acquisition, Clint Dempsey.
The homecoming of sorts for the Nacogdoches native will continue a whirlwind first few weeks with the club that has already included a Trans-Atlantic flight, his Sounders FC debut and a New York media tour. However this weekend will be a welcome trip for Dempsey.
“Yeah, it’ll be great to see my family,” he said. “Anytime you can play in front of family, it’s always nice. Anytime you get to see them after the game, it’s great. Texas is where it all began for me. It gave me the opportunity to play club ball and to accomplish my dreams, so I owe a lot to where I’m from.”
The last time Dempsey had the opportunity to play in Houston came in 2011 during the CONCACAF Gold Cup semifinals against Panama. In the 76th minute, Dempsey slid into the six-yard box to connect with a cross from Landon Donovan, scoring the only goal of the match to send the U.S. National Team through to the final, where they would fall to Mexico.
While a hometown hero and U.S. National Team standout, Dempsey still anticipates a mixed reaction from the Houston crowd, which has grown to average the fifth-best attendance in the league at 19,916 per match.
“I’m sure some people will be happy to see me and some people will be looking forward to booing me,” said Dempsey, who heard a chorus of jeers when he made his debut against Toronto FC at BMO Field on Saturday. “If I was a Houston Dynamo fan, I would want the same thing. I would want my team to win. But I’m with the Seattle Sounders and I am going to do everything I can to help this team accomplish our goal to win the MLS Cup.”
With just a handful of full training sessions under his belt, Dempsey is still growing accustomed to his new teammates and working to break from the preseason fitness after he joined Sounders FC after only going through a couple of weeks of training camp with Tottenham Hotspur.
His play in Seattle’s victory over Toronto provides a brief window into what he can do to help Sounders FC succeed, but he also knows he has much more to offer and will get to that point in due time.
“My sharpness is getting there, my fitness is getting there, and I’ll be looking to impact games more,” he said.