/Clint Dempsey Closes In on Scoring Mark and a Legacy All His Own

Clint Dempsey Closes In on Scoring Mark and a Legacy All His Own

Much is likely to be made in the coming weeks about the legacies of Dempsey and Donovan, the dominant figures in the national team’s modern history. Their many differences surely will be rehashed and debated.


Landon Donovan at the 2002 World Cup. Donovan retired last winter as the United States national team’s career goals leader with 57, but Clint Dempsey’s next one will tie the mark.

Ben Radford/Getty Images

Dempsey, before his late-career move to Major League Soccer’s Seattle Sounders, made a name for himself in England with Fulham and Tottenham of the Premier League. Donovan, who last winter retired for the second time, preferred the comforts of home for much of his career. He won six league titles in M.L.S., where the most valuable player trophy was named for him even before his playing days had ended, after a handful of brief and comparatively underwhelming stints in Europe.

Given their disparate career paths, Dempsey and Donovan long have served as convenient stand-ins for a broader debate within an American soccer culture still self-conscious about…

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