While Landon Donovan has shined in the spotlight as the premier US men’s soccer player, Clint Dempsey is quickly stealing the show, most recently with his hat trick in the Fulham win 5-2 over Newcastle last Saturday. Just a few years ago, the discussion was for the most part resolved, with little wiggle room: Landon Donovan was easily the best American field player ever.
Fast forward a little ways and Dempsey has quickly reopened that topic for debate. Not only with his success in the English Premier League, but last June, Dempsey sent the USMNT into the Gold Cup Final with his 76th minute strike to beat Panama. A quick side note worth mentioning, is the US Men’s friendly scheduled against Panama tonight (Jan 25th), at 5:30 PST available on ESPN3.com.
While more fans can probably identify with Donovan, Dempsey has a chance to make himself known in their match this Friday as Everton plays Fulham in the fourth round of the FA Cup. Historically, Donovan has been the icon of American soccer stardom as the poster child of the MLS, with notable sponsorships from big names like EA Sports. Donovan also retains more Twitter and Facebook followers than Dempsey.
Looking at the statistics for international appearances, Donovan is the historical powerhouse, with 134 appearances and 46 goals, while Dempsey has 24 goals in 82 appearances.
This Friday, the teams will face off in the first game of the fourth round in the FA Cup. Both teams have struggled throughout their seasons in the English Premier League. Donovan’s Everton and Dempsey’s Fulham are both tied with Swansea City at a measly 26 points. The second half of their season is going to need igniting and the head-to-head match up this Friday might just be the place to get things going.