Dempsey eagerly anticipating Western Conference Championship with Galaxy

Clint Dempsey

Clint Dempsey knows a thing or two about playing in big matches.

The USA international has participated and scored in three FIFA World Cups, experienced some of the highest stakes in club football in the English Premier League and played in a Europa League Final with Fulham.

Now in MLS, Dempsey is ready to play his biggest match with Sounders FC in the 2014 MLS Cup Playoffs.

“I’m definitely excited about the games coming up,” said Dempsey of Seattle’s Western Conference Championship series with the LA Galaxy. “It’s an opportunity to get the right results and to go to a final. That’s something that this club hasn’t done in MLS, so I’m looking forward to trying to win a Cup.”

In facing the Galaxy for the third and fourth time in just over a month, the Sounders have a solid understanding of what to expect from the LA club and the prolific duo of Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane up front.

“Both of them can score goals, and if you give them the ball with time and space, they also can pick players out and create assists,” said Dempsey of Donovan and Keane. “We have players on our team that can do the same, but they’ve shown throughout the season that they perform well.”

Keane and Donovan combined for 29 goals and 33 assists in the regular season, leading the way for the league’s top-ranked offense.

Dempsey knows that stopping that pair will be paramount for the Sounders if they are to advance to their first ever MLS Cup Final.

“You need to be aware of things defensively, stay compact, and make it difficult on your opponent,” Dempsey said of how his team needs to organize. “We need to try to limit the opportunities they create, in terms of trying to make it difficult for them to get good looks in front of goal. At the same time, we have to have the confidence to go forward, and when we have opportunities to make things happen in the final third, be confident and brave enough to take those chances.”

One of the hardest working players in MLS, Dempsey has been playing continually for nearly a full year since going on loan at former club Fulham prior to the start of the 2014 season.

Despite this, the Designated Player isn’t ready for a break just yet.

“This is the best time to still be playing because we have a lot to play for in trying to push for an MLS Cup,” said Dempsey of the weeks ahead. “That’s been the goal since I came here, was to try to help this team win an MLS Cup. So that’s where my mind is right now. Hopefully we’re able to get the job done. That would make the offseason even more sweet.”

Seattle visits Los Angeles for the First Leg of the Western Conference Championship on November 23 with television coverage on ESPN at 2 p.m. PST.

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