It was a rough homecoming for Clint Dempsey in Houston on Saturday.
The recently returned Texan struggled to get into a game largely dominated by the Dynamo. Visitors among the sell out crowd of 22,289 fans saw an early left footed effort from #2 go just wide – and then not much else. Aggressive Dynamo play and a first half brace from Giles Barnes stole the show. “Thought we came out the blocks flying,” said Barnes “and getting the two goals early kinda knocked the wind outta them.”
Three points were vital for both teams looking to climb into secure positions in the playoff table, but Houston looked the hungrier. All eyes on Dempsey were shifted to the home sides attacking half as good play from Will Bruin and the Dynamo front kept the nine million dollar man quiet. After the game Coach Schmid said of Dempsey “”hes not really a true center forward, he drops in and tries to find those gaps, finds himself in good situations and had good looks, makes late runs. As long as we were aware of him, and keep pressure, we did the job.”
The 3-1 beating featured twenty players, ten from each side, who at some point had represented the United States in competition. But the return of perhaps the greatest current American saw Dempsey more involved with referees than the game, and getting fouled more than finding his feet.
Perhaps it was the heat. Maybe it was the pressure. But definitely it was Houston’s night. Three points for the Dynamo takes them to fifth place on 36, while Dempsey and Seattle sit below the line in sixth, on 34.