Gallery: Exclusive images as Dempsey rescues Seattle a point in 2-2 draw at Portland

Heineken MLS Rivalry Week was rounded off with a typically dramatic Cascadia Cup clash as the Seattle Sounders scored in the dying seconds of the game to earn a point in a dramatic 2-2 draw at Portland Timbers’ Providence Park on Sunday night.

The Sounders took the lead inside the first half an hour as Joevin Jones scored from his own rebounded shot, but the game turned on its head just before halftime. Brad Evans brought Darlington Nagbe down inside his own box, denying a clear goalscoring opportunity, which led to the Timbers being awarded a penalty and Evans being sent for a very early shower.

Fanendo Adi scored his 50th MLS goal from the spot to get the Timbers supporters on their feet, and they wasted no time in taking advantage of their numerical advantage as Dairon Asprilla headed the hosts in front in first-half stoppage time.

The Sounders went in down a goal and down a man. But they had Clint Dempsey to turn to. The attacker was a surprise omission from the starting lineup but Brian Schmetzer’s choice paid dividends. He sent Dempsey on for Jordan Morris in the 56th minute and it proved decisive.

The scorching heat caused by a heatwave in the Pacific Northwest meant that kickoff had to be delayed, but Seattle showed great character and even better fitness levels to stay in the game and they were rewarded when Dempsey rose above Amobi Okugo in the 94th minute to head in a Roman Torres cross to ensure the points were shared.

The result moves Portland up to third in the Western Conference, five points of leaders Sporting KC, while Seattle stay eighth but are just one point outside the top six. Check out exclusive photos from Sunday’s match below, courtesy of MLSGB Photographer Denise McCooey.

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Gallery: Exclusive photos from the Sounders’ 3-1 win over the Red Bulls

The Seattle Sounders are officially up and running after picking up their first win of the new season in their home opener against a New York Red Bulls side who suffered defeat in an MLS regular season game for the first time in 19 matches.

Clint Dempsey’s penalty put the Sounders up 1-0 at halftime before Bradley Wright-Phillips headed the visitors back into the game just 12 minutes into the second half. But the hosts showed great resilience and their positive approach to the game was rewarded when Jordan Morris headed them back in front on 66 minutes.

The points were wrapped up on 79 minutes as Joevin Jones’ shot was deflected in off the inside of Harry Shipp’s right foot, given Seattle a much-needed victory and ending the Red Bulls’ 18-game unbeaten streak in regular season play.

Check out exclusive photos from Sunday’s match below, courtesy of MLS photographers Denise McCooey and Paul Kahl.

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MLS Preview and Prediction: Seattle Sounders vs New York Red Bulls

Competition: Major League Soccer – Seattle Sounders vs. New York Red Bulls
Venue: CenturyLink Field – Sunday, March 19 – 19:00 ET (23:00 GMT – Live on Sky Sports) 
Match Odds: Seattle 6/5 – Draw 23/10 – NY Red Bulls 21/10

Match Preview

Seattle Sounders welcome New York Red Bulls to CenturyLink Field for the 2016 MLS Cup champions’ home opener in Sunday’s only MLS fixture.

The Sounders will be relieved to be coming home after taking just one point from their first two games of the new season. They fell 2-1 at Houston before a dramatic last-minute Will Bruin goal earned them a 2-2 draw at Montreal last Saturday.

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Their attacking play of Nicolas Lodeiro and Jordan Morris, which destroyed defences on their way to MLS Cup last season, has yet to really get going in 2017. We’re only two games in but they must start to click again if Seattle are to challenge at the right end of the Western Conference this term.

Seattle head coach Brian Schmetzer will also be concerned with the fact his defence have conceded four goals in two matches. They will be without Roman Torres on Sunday as the defender has been hit with a suspension and so they may be vulnerable once again.

The Red Bulls are the only Eastern Conference side to have won both of their opening games this season and they’ve done so without getting out of first gear.

Jesse Marsch’s side are still adapting to life without Dax McCarty in midfield but they have managed to beat Atlanta and Colorado and are already in a strong position at this early stage.

Last Saturday’s 1-0 win over the Rapids wasn’t pretty and won’t live long in the memories of the Red Bulls’ fans but they got the result they needed. They now know they are in for a real test if they are to make it three from three this weekend.

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These two couldn’t be more closely matched in terms of previous meetings. The series stands at 4-3-4 with 15 goals each. However, the Red Bulls have only won one of their five trips to CenturyLink Field and that came back in 2010.

Team News

Seattle will have to cope without central defender Roman Torres, who has been handed a one-game suspension for violent conduct in last weekend’s draw in Montreal. Brad Evans is the Sounders’ only injury absentee and will miss out again.

The New York Red Bulls have two played sidelined as Connor Lade remains out with a torn ACL, while Gonzalo Veron is struggling with a hamstring problem.

Key Points

Seattle Sounders’ form: L/D

New York Red Bulls’ form: W/W

Key Stat: The Red Bulls are unbeaten in their last eight MLS away games (3W 5D). This is their longest away unbeaten run in their MLS regular season history.

Key Player: Clint Dempsey – The Sounders star scored on his return to action on opening weekend and will be relishing the chance to walkout at CenturyLink Field in front of the Seattle fans on Sunday. He has always thrived on home turf and will look to cause the Red Bulls problems from start to finish.

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Score Prediction

Seattle Sounders 2-2 NY Red Bulls – Both sides will expect to score in what should be an exciting battle on Sunday night. The Sounders will be relishing the chance to come out in front of the home crowd for the first time in 2017 and know they are expected to get their first three points of the season. But they have looked vulnerable at the back and the likes of Bradley Wright-Phillips and Sacha Kljestan will look to keep the visitors 100% record intact if they can. Score draw.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Montreal Impact vs Seattle Sounders

Competition: Major League Soccer – Montreal Impact vs. Seattle Sounders
Venue: Olympic Stadium – Saturday, March 11 – 19:00 ET (00:00 GMT) 
Match Odds: Montreal 13/10 – Draw 11/5 – Seattle 2/1

Match Preview

Montreal Impact welcome Seattle Sounders to Olympic Stadium on Saturday evening, with both sides looking to bounce back from disappointing losses on opening weekend in what should be an intriguing matchup.

Both these sides started the season with opening day defeats on the road. While that in itself is no major problem, the fact that both of these teams failed to get out of first gear last week will have given both coaches a lot to work on this week.

Montreal now have a home opener to look forward to and will look to put their 1-0 loss in San Jose behind them by beating the reigning MLS Cup champions.

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The Impact were the only side in MLS to not register a single shot on target last weekend. That has to change for them to get anywhere this week. They also need to get Ignacio Piatti involved as he was a passenger in California on opening weekend.

The home crowd should ensure that the Impact up their performance last week and a win here would represent a solid enough start to the campaign in the East. But a loss would set off some early alarm bells for a side that was a really dangerous attacking unit last year.

Seattle had an early season wake up call in Houston last Saturday, as the Dynamo beat the champs 2-1 to remind us all of just how unpredictable this league is, with the Sounders looking at full strength.

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The Sounders’ only goal came from the returning Clint Dempsey, and he should get better and better each week as his match fitness continues to improve. But he needs others around him to offer the same energy they did on their way to winning the title three months ago.

Starting the season with back-to-back road games is tough for any side. But it’s even worse for the team with a huge target on their back labelled ‘MLS Cup holders’. Seattle need to prove they can handle that pressure by getting a result in Montreal here.

The only regular season meeting between these two sides last year saw the Sounders win 1-0 at CenturyLink Field, thanks to a Clint Dempsey strike 11 minutes before the end. However, the Impact have won three of the five previous MLS meetings in total.

Team News

Montreal will be without Hassoun Camara after the defender saw red in San Jose last weekend. The good news for the Impact is that they have no injury worries early in the season, so Mauro Biello should be able to pick a side strong enough to get all three points.

Seattle remain without Brad Evans and Aaron Kovar, while Oniel Fisher is listed as questionable as a result of concussion. Clint Dempsey should start alongside Jordan Morris and Nicolas Lodeiro in attack once again.

Key Points

Montreal’s form: L

Seattle’s form: L

Key Stat: Montreal Impact are unbeaten in their last nine regular season home games against Western Conference opposition (W7 D2). Their last home defeat to a Western side came in May 2015 (2-1 loss to Portland)

Key Player: Ignacio Piatti – The Impact playmaker had an ineffective game last weekend on the left side of midfield, which is unlike him. But you can expect him to rise to the occasion in Montreal’s home opener. If he is on song, it will be very difficult for the Sounders backline to come away with anything.

Score Prediction

Montreal Impact 1-1 Seattle Sounders – Neither of these sides showed anything of note last weekend but should improve here after a full week’s training to put things right. That said, there is a strong chance they will cancel each other out. That’s how we see this one panning out, although expect both sides to create plenty of chances in what should be a good contest.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Seattle Sounders vs Real Salt Lake

Competition: Major League Soccer – Seattle Sounders vs. Real Salt Lake

Venue: CenturyLink Field – Sunday, August 14 – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST) 

Match Odds: Seattle 8/11 – Draw 13/5 – Salt Lake 7/2

Match Preview

Seattle Sounders welcome Real Salt Lake to CenturyLink Field on Sunday evening in an all Western Conference clash.

The Sounders are sitting 9th coming into this tie. They trail the top six by eight points and will need to go on a very strong run if they are to challenge to finish the season in a playoff position.

Seattle won 3-1 away at Orlando last time out. A very good result which should have given them a real boost.

That victory ended a three game winless run of two losses and one draw. Sounders are now unbeaten in two and have the chance to build on that here. This is going to be a tough tie against a solid Real Salt Lake side.

Seattle Sounders vs Philadelphia Union

Real Salt Lake have looked good this season. They are sitting 3rd in the West but would have to go on an incredibly strong run to challenge for the Supporters’ Shield as they trial top spot by seven points.

Salt Lake come into this one off the back of their 3-1 over Chicago. They’ve lost just once in their last five outings and will be feeling confident ahead of the tie.

Jeff Cassar’s side have won just four away games so far this season. Out of their ten remaining regular season games they have four to play on the road.

If they can pick up a win here it will put them in a really strong position to ensure they get a top six finish, they seven points clear of 7th place, so they will want to push on and finish as high in the West as possible.

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Team News

Seattle Sounders have just three injury concerns heading into this one as Roman Torres and Aaron Kovar are out, while Erik Friberg is a doubt.

Real Salt Lake have four injury concerns ahead of this tie as Emery Welshman and Sunday Stephen are out, while Yura Movsisyan and Jordan Allen are doubts.

Key Points

Seattle Sounders’ last five: W/L/L/D/W

Real Salt Lake’s last five: D/D/W/L/W

Key Stat: Seattle Sounders are unbeaten in their last six home games against Real Salt Lake.

Key Player: Clint Dempsey – The Sounders forward has had a quiet season by his standards but will be full of confidence heading into this one as he bagged a hat-trick in that 3-1 over Orlando last time out.

Photo: Denise McCooey

Photo: Denise McCooey

Score Prediction

Seattle Sounders 2-1 Real Salt Lake – Seattle Sounders to extend their unbeaten run to three games against a Real Salt Lake who have struggled to pick up points consistently on the road this season.

Gallery: Exclusive images from Seattle Sounders’ win over Montreal

Seattle Sounders finally got their first win of the 2016 MLS regular season on Saturday night as they edged past Montreal Impact 1-0 at CenturyLink Field.

Clint Dempsey scored the game’s only goal in the 79th minute as he headed in Andreas Ivanschitz’s corner to give the Sounders three vital points.

Seattle remain bottom of the Western Conference but are now back in contention to start climbing the table if they can build on Saturday’s win.

Montreal may have lost their second-straight game, but they remain top of the Eastern Conference on goal difference.

Check out exclusive photos from Saturday night’s game below, courtesy of MLSGB photographer Denise McCooey.

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MLS Fantasy Focus: Who should you be bringing in for the first DGW of the season?

By Jamie Dawe & Sam Martin

Week 3 Review

The Good:

LA Galaxy forward Gyasi Zardes ($9.5) helped continue his side’s unbeaten home run as he netted two goals in his side’s 3-1 win against San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday as they climbed to 2nd in the Western Conference. Reigning MLS Cup champions Portland came from two goals down to grab a point at home to Real Salt Lake, with Fanendo Adi ($10.2) grabbing a brace, including one from the spot late on. Philadelphia picked up their second win of the season with a convincing 3-0 home victory over the New England Revolution. American forward CJ Sapong ($8.1) opened his MLS 2016 goals account with two in his side’s well-deserved victory, while rookie defender Keegan Rosenberry ($5.5) made four interceptions and two crucial tackles to preserve his side’s second clean-sheet in three matches. 

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The Bad:

Unbeaten Real Salt Lake threw away a two-goal lead at Portland Timbers in the last 11 minutes, but also saw two of their men receive red cards. With his side a goal up, midfielder Kyle Beckerman ($8.3) saw red, followed by defender Jamison Olave ($7.8), who received his marching orders in the 83rd minute. Manager Jeff Cassar will surely be frustrated with his side’s lack of discipline. A further three red cards were dished out across the weekend, making a grand total of 5 across all matches. San Jose’s Jamaican DP Simon Dawkins ($8.6), New England Revolution defender Je-Vaughn Watson ($6.9) and former Wigan Athletic midfielder Roger Espinoza ($7.2) all saw red for their misdemeanours. It certainly was another fiery weekend in MLS!

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Week 4 Preview

Must Buy:

With the first Double Gameweek of the season hurtling towards us at top speed, it’s time for you to stack up on players who could make a real impact in the Week 4 scoring charts. I’m going to attempt to recommend one player from each side that has a Double Gameweek this week. Firstly, from DC United, Brazilian midfielder Marcelo Sarvas ($7.1) is definitely a safe bet to score a decent quantity of bonus points in both matches, so if you’re looking for guaranteed points, he’s your man. FC Dallas are missing a number of their key players this international break, so it’s a chance for Mauro Diaz ($10.4) to continue to show his incredible credentials without the likes of Tesho Akindele and Kellyn Acosta surrounding him. The New England Revs have had a disappointing start to the season, but it could’ve been a lot worse if it wasn’t for star ‘keeper Bobby Shuttleworth ($5.8). A clean sheet and two saved penalties in three games make Shuttleworth by far and away the best performer so far in this poor New England side. I also expect that this week will be the week that Kekuta Manneh’s ($8.5) ability shines through for the Whitecaps in their double header of home games. However, I would not recommend picking up any Whitecaps defenders as they face free-scoring Houston on Saturday, followed by the visit of LA Galaxy, who are also a dangerous attacking outfit.

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Must Sell:

This week, I’m struggling to see anyone or any team that stands out to me as particularly worth selling over everyone else. Obviously, dropping any of the red-carded players can’t be argued against and anyone losing faith in the Sounders ever picking up form would be understood if they were to remove Clint Dempsey ($10.8) or Jordan Morris ($8.2) from their side. The New York Red Bulls also picked up a host of hamstring injuries in their 4-3 victory over Houston, so defenders Gideon Baah ($8.0) and Ronald Zubar ($7.8) could be ones to remove before their match against the Revs on April 1.

Seattle Sounders vs Vancouver Whitecaps 2016 Clint Dempsey

There’s a new leader in the MLSGB Fantasy League this week, as Damian Reed’s brilliantly named side De Jong Trousers now tops the leaderboard. However, this week’s highest scorer was SW Whistler’s squad Pits of Passyunk with 87 points, which included double figures from Philly players CJ Sapong and Fabinho, his chosen captain Cyle Larin and Red Bulls midfield maestro Sacha Kljestan.

Who do you think is the best player to select for the upcoming Double Gameweek?

MLS Preview and Prediction: Seattle Sounders vs Vancouver Whitecaps

Competition: Major League Soccer – Seattle Sounders vs. Vancouver Whitecaps

Venue: CenturyLink Field – Saturday, March 19 – 22:00 ET (02:00 GMT)

Match Odds: Seattle 21/20 – Draw 5/2 – Vancouver 5/2

Match Preview

Seattle Sounders host Vancouver Whitecaps in the first Cascadia rivalry clash of the 2016 season, with both sides looking to put their first points on the board after a poor start to the campaign.

Both sides have lost their opening two games and will be desperate for a win here to stop problems from worsening. Beating fierce rivals would be a real boost for either and so there’s plenty at stake in their early-season clash.

Seattle fell 1-0 at home to Sporting Kansas City in their opener, before losing 2-1 to Real Salt Lake last weekend. Both results will have disappointed Sigi Schmid but he need to rally his side to bounce back here.

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The visit of Vancouver is sure to be a testing one, especially as the away side has emerged victorious in each of the last four regular season meeting between these clubs. Seattle need to give the home crowd something to celebrate early to try and set the tone.

The Whitecaps will be hugely disappointed to have lost both games so far. Their 3-2 defeat to Montreal was followed up by a 2-1 loss in Kansas City last Saturday and Carl Robinson knows his team need to shore up defensively very quickly.

Vancouver were excellent at the back last year but have conceded five in their first two and have already seen both Ignacio Piatti and Dom Dwyer net braces against them through the first two weeks.

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The Whitecaps did win last season’s only regular season game in Seattle by an emphatic 3-0 scoreline, although the Sounders recorded victories in both games at BC Place. The home side has struggled in this fixture of late and so Vancouver will be confident of leaving with at least a point.

Both clubs have already received a red card this term and need to keep their discipline to prevent this rivalry from getting out of hand on Saturday evening.

Team News

Seattle will be without defensive duo Brad Evans and Roman Torres once again here, while Erik Friberg is also still sidelined through injury. Goalkeeper Stefan Frei is a doubt, as are Michael Farfan, Nelson Valdez and Jordan Morris, though both Valdez and Morris are expected to be fit.

Vancouver have two suspensions to worry about as they head to CenturyLink Field. Jordan Smith will sit out after being sent off in last week’s loss to SKC, while Kianz Froese has been given a one-game suspension by the MLS Disciplinary Committee. Christian Dean and Russell Teibert remain injured, while Kekuta Manneh is a doubt as he is struggling with an ankle injury.

Key Points

Seattle Sounders’ form: L/L

Vancouver Whitecaps’ form: L/L

Key Stat: The Sounders have lost three-straight home matches to Vancouver in MLS and have been outscored 1-8 in that time.

Key Player: Clint Dempsey – The Seattle star has had a slow start to 2016 but will hope to get his first goal of the campaign at home to Cascadia rivals on Saturday night. He can turn any game on its head in an instant, and needs to start producing the goods for the Sounders if they are to pick up positive results.

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Score Prediction

Seattle Sounders 1-1 Vancouver Whitecaps – It’s too difficult to separate these sides heading into this important game. Both will be desperate to stop the rot as far as losses are concerned and that could lead to a cagey affair. A draw would get both sides off the mark and so that looks the most likely result between two teams that have looked far from convincing so far.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Seattle Sounders vs Sporting Kansas City

Competition: Major League Soccer – Seattle Sounders vs. Sporting Kansas City

Venue: CenturyLink Field – Sunday, March 6 – 19:00 ET (00:00 GMT) 

Match Odds: Seattle 5/6 – Draw 5/2– Kansas City 16/5

Match Preview

Seattle Sounders kick off their 2016 campaign by welcoming Western Conference rivals Sporting Kansas City to CenturyLink Field on Sunday evening.

Both these sides fell short in the playoffs last season. Reaching the 2016 playoffs will be the minimum requirement once again and both sides can send out a real signal of intent here.

The Sounders will be looking to improve on last season’s fourth place finish in the Western Conference and a key start to the campaign is vital for getting early points on the board.

Sigi Schmid will be relatively pleased with Seattle’s preseason – they won their last two games after struggling with three consecutive defeats. Preseason can’t be looked into in too much depth as it doesn’t compare to the intensity of the real action, so it will be interesting to see how Seattle get going here.

Their two CONCACAF Champions League games against Club America will have helped preparations despite crashing out 5-3 on aggregate.

Sounders started the 2015 campaign with a 3-0 win and will look to replicate that this weekend. Their midseason wobble, where they lost six in seven games, probably cost them the Supporters’ Shield – they cannot afford a repeat of that this time around.

Seattle Sounders vs FC Dallas Fans

Sporting Kansas City struggled to get going in their 2015 campaign. It took them four attempts to get their first win and they will be looking to get off to a flyer here in what is a tricky opener.

Kansas City are unbeaten in their last three outings against Seattle, winning one and drawing two, and a win here would be a remarkable confidence booster to get things going for their 2016 regular season.

Peter Vermes’ side had an unbeaten preseason and will be looking to use that momentum heading into this tie. They finished 6th in the Western Conference last season and will be looking to improve on that and challenge for the Supporters’ Shield this time around.

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Team News

Seattle Sounders have no injury concerns heading into the new campaign. The squad has undergone a little reshape though. The departure of Obafemi Martins will be a big role to fill and it appears Schmid is entrusting Jordan Morris with that task. He penned the highest paid contact for a homegrown player in Major League Soccer history so big things are expected from him. Joevin Jones and Michael Farfan will be hoping to make their Sounders debuts.

Sporting Kansas City will also be pleased not to have any major injuries heading into this one. However Ike Opara and Graham Zusi are doubts after picking up knocks towards the end of preseason. The squad has had minimal change which could be a plus for them this season, as players will continue to develop a great understanding of each other on the field. New signings Justin Mapp and Brad Davis will hope to feature.

Key Points

Seattle Sounders’ preseason form: L/L/L/W/W

Sporting Kansas City’s preseason form: W/D/D/D

Key Stat: Goals – Seattle have scored at least two goals in six of their last seven home Major League Soccer outings.

Key Player: Clint Dempsey – The obvious choice! Dempsey is easily the Sounders’ key man, as he makes them tick. His role in an injury-hit 2015 campaign was still immense. In the 20 games he featured in, Seattle only lost three times and he contributed to them finding the net 20 times, with ten goals and ten assists.

Forward Clint Dempsey celebrates his second goal after scoring from close range on a corner kick. All images courtesy of Sounders FC Communications. Photo: Jane Gershovich.

Forward Clint Dempsey celebrates his second goal after scoring from close range on a corner kick. Image courtesy of Sounders FC Communications. Photo: Jane Gershovich.

Score Prediction

Seattle Sounders 2-1 Sporting Kansas City – Seattle to start their 2016 regular season with a win. They won their last two games of preseason before their Champions League clashes, and they will have put them into good shape. The Sounders should make home advantage count in an action packed game. The last meeting between these sides was a 0-0 draw and Seattle will not want to continue their winless run against SKC in an important opener.

Sounders star praises Leicester but wants Spurs to win Premier League

Seattle Sounders front man Clint Dempsey has praised Leicester City and his former club Tottenham Hotspur for their efforts in the Premier League this season.

The USA international, who used to ply his trade in England, having spent six years in London with Fulham and Spurs, can’t speak highly enough of what the top two sides are achieving.

“Leicester has done incredible and Tottenham has just been consistent throughout the whole season,” he told Goal USA.

“It’s about these next few months and seeing who wants it more. I’ve never seen anything like Leicester’s incredible run. It’s been pretty amazing.”

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Dempsey began his professional career with New England Revolution in 2004 and left for Fulham in 2007, where he spent five years before joining Tottenham in 2012.

He arrived in Seattle in 2013 and has enjoyed his return to MLS, helping the Sounders to a Supporters’ Shield title and US Open Cup in 2014.

A look at his career in numbers below shows he’s been a success wherever he goes:

Clint Dempsey's club career in numbers

Clint Dempsey’s club career in numbers

The 32 year old puts Leicester’s success down to hard work, but has admitted he’d prefer to see his old club Spurs go on to lift the title in May.

“It just goes to show you that anything can happen in the league if you prepare and are organised and have belief, you can do the impossible.

“It would be crazy to see them win, but since I played with Tottenham I’m going to have to root for them and hope they can pull it off.”

WATCH: Clint Dempsey scores an excellent free kick vs Club America

Dempsey scored both goals for Seattle, including a wonderful free-kick, as they got their competitive season underway on Tuesday with a 2-2 draw against Club America in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal first leg at CenturyLink Field.

The return leg is on Wednesday, March 2 before their MLS campaign kicks off on Sunday, March 6 at home to Sporting Kansas City.

How good is Clint Dempsey? And who do you want to win the Premier League?