Clint Dempsey hadn't played a competitive match in months, thanks to his long-running summer-transfer saga. That made his inclusion in the starting lineup surprising. Having not played a league match so far this season, Dempsey lacked match sharpness following his protracted transfer to Tottenham Hotspur from Fulham.
Even more surprising, however, was the fact that Dempsey played the full 90 minutes.
U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann's decision to start Dempsey wasn't a bad one. Dempsey is the best U.S. field player, and putting him in the match early—as opposed, presumably, to a substitute's role—suggested Klinsmann wanted to chase a positive result.
And the (very) early returns were positive, too, with Dempsey putting the U.S. ahead 36 seconds into the match. He had another decent chance late in the half on Michael Parkhurst's cross.
But, predictably, Dempsey faded in the second half. And overall, he failed to exert his normal level of influence on the game throughout.
Perhaps a substitute appearance, or even 60 minutes as a starter, would have been better for Dempsey at this point. One must wonder whether he'll be able to play the full 90 on Tuesday, when the U.S. faces Jamaica in what's now a must-win match in Columbus, Ohio.
Grade: C-. This doesn't totally reflect on him, though. He shouldn't have played the full 90.