On Monday, U.S. Soccer announced the five nominees for 2015 U.S. Soccer Male Player of the Year. This year's nominees include midfielder Michael Bradley, forward Clint Dempsey, goalkeeper Brad Guzan, and defenders Fabian Johnson and DeAndre Yedlin. In these five days, ussoccer.com will make a case for each of the candidates. Today is three-time winner (2007, 2011, 2012) Clint Dempsey.
The case for Clint Dempsey is simple: his nine goals with the U.S. MNT in 2015 marked a career-high, team-high and tied Landon Donovan and Eric Wynalda for the most all-time U.S. goals in a single season. Dempsey began the year with a goal in the team’s second match after he split the Panama defense, worked his way past the 'keeper with classic Clint footwork and provided a quick finishing touch.
The Nacogdoches, Texas, native kicked off the Gold Cup with goals in each of the MNT’s first three games, including a multi-goal effort against Honduras on July 7. Dempsey then put forth his best performance of the campaign with a hat trick on July 18 against Cuba in the Gold Cup Quarterfinals. He ultimately earned the tournament's Golden Boot for tallying a total of seven goals in six matches.
Dempsey recorded an impressive 10 goal and 10 assists in 20 appearances with the Seattle Sounders during the 2015 MLS regular season. The forward tallied six multi-point games, including two goals and an assist in both the team's first and final matches of the year. Dempsey also scored twice in three playoff contests, including this must-see free kick against FC Dallas.