For the second time, Clint Dempsey stood before the crowd at CenturyLink Field on a platform, where he waved and saluted the supporters.
It first happened in August 2013, marking the beginning of an era. Five years, 57 goals and all three major MLS/U.S. trophies later (Open Cup and Supporters’ Shield in 2014, MLS Cup in 2016), Dempsey’s re-emergence onto the platform on Saturday afternoon signaled the end of an era.
Prior to Saturday’s 3-1 win over Sporting Kansas City, which set a post-shootout MLS record for consecutive wins in a single season, the club honored Dempsey, who announced his retirement on Wednesday.
Dempsey entered the pitch with his wife and four children, including his son who donned a “Daddy” Sounders kit with his father’s famous No. 2.
The stadium PA announcer echoed off Dempsey’s long list of career accomplishments, and every supporter at CenturyLink Field stood, cheered and captured the moment. He watched a video board that played a montage of various athletes and celebrities sending him love, ranging from Kobe Bryant and Marshawn Lynch to Megan Rapinoe and Obafemi Martins.
Owner Adrian Hanuer presented Dempsey with a series of gifts, including a three-day Alaskan fishing trip, and then he took the stage with a Golden Scarf draped around his son’s neck, who held it high for the fans.
Dempsey didn’t speak into a mic or linger too long, which is just vintage Clint in his truest form.
ECS unveiled a tifo for their retired hero. After a few more claps and salutes, Dempsey was done. The players gathered in the southeast tunnel to prepare to take the pitch, right as Dempsey left into the southwest tunnel. And that was it.
Thank you, Deuce.