U.S. National Team @ Costa Rica
2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying; CONCACAF regional tournament
September 6, 2013, 7 pm PT; Estadio Nacional in San Jose, Costa Rica
TV: BeIN Sports
Over the course of 100 years of U.S. Soccer, many players have put on the jersey for the U.S. Men’s National Team. One-hundred and eighty-eight played just one match and never saw the field again. While some of those players are still active, most got just the one taste at international play. So it is extremely rare and takes a very special player to reach 100 caps.
On Friday night in San Jose, Costa Rica, Sounders FC forward Clint Dempsey will become the 14th player in the history of U.S. Soccer to reach that milestone if he takes the pitch in a World Cup qualifying match. It is an achievement that Head Coach Jurgen Klinsmann hopes will catapult Dempsey to a stellar performance in a country where the U.S. has not had much success.
“His 100th cap is very special and I said to him that we saved the 100th cap for Costa Rica because we have never won there, so you have to put your stamp on the game and he’s ready for that,” Klinsmann told USsoccer.com.
For all of Klinsmann’s excitement at Dempsey reaching the milestone, Dempsey himself was muted in his joy at his personal accomplishment last week when asked about reaching the century mark.
“It’s just cool to say that you’ve played 100 caps for your national team. I think it will be good just to get it out of the way and just have it under your belt,” he said. “It’s one thing that you can be proud of when you’re old but the most important thing is not that I’m playing my 100th cap, it’s about the team trying to get the right result in these next two games.”
Dempsey joins a list of players to reach 100 caps that includes Cobi Jones (164), Landon Donovan (151), Jeff Agoos (134), Marcelo Balboa (128), Claudio Reyna (112), Carlos Bocanegra (110), Paul Caligiuri (110), DaMarcus Beasley (109), Eric Wynalda (106), Kasey Keller (102), Earnie Stewart (101), Joe-Max Moore (100) and Tony Meola (100).
This will be Dempsey’s first opportunity on the international stage since signing with Sounders FC on August 3 and it comes in an important match for the U.S. Seattle is 3-1-0 in his four matches and has climbed to third in the Western Conference. Earlier this week, Seattle Head Coach Sigi Schmid said he was less concerned with Dempsey’s personal statistics than he was with the team’s performance when he is with the team and Klinsmann echoed that sentiment.
“Obviously, his move to Seattle is big for everyone involved in soccer in the United States and it will still take him a while to still settle in, pick up his rhythm and have that understanding with those players he needs to have to deliver the goals,” Klinsmann said. “But saying all that, it’s going to be exciting days for Clint, and obviously his benchmark is the highest it can be. We want to see him delivering, playing with high energy, and see him really be there for his team, fighting defensively and being himself offensively.”
Klinsmann’s team sits atop the Hexagonal Round standings at 4-1-1 with 13 points, but is just two points ahead of Friday’s opposition, Costa Rica, who is 3-1-2 for 11 points.
Having his captain available and in top form is important to Klinsmann as he looks to put distance between the U.S. and the rest of the pack in the CONCACAF qualifying.
“We want three points in Costa Rica. That is all that matters. If we the battle there and get the three points, we’re right where we want to be.”