CHICAGO – Chicago's Soldier Field has been good to US national team forward Clint Dempsey over the years.
There’s the goal against England on May 28, 2005, and another against Brazil on Sept. 9, 2007. He also started the triumphant CONCACAF Gold Cup final in 2007 against Mexico.
His success there is not only limited to international duty. Dempsey scored in the venue as a member of the New England Revolution back on April 27, 2005, in a 3-0 win over the Chicago Fire. It’s been over five years, but he still remembers the celebration.
“The celebration I did then was I went to the fans, tucked my shirt in and ‘take a pic,’” Dempsey told MLSsoccer.com on Thursday after US practice.
For Saturday's match at Soldier Field against Poland, Dempsey is listed as a forward on the official match roster. At the 2010 World Cup, he fell into the “midfielder” category.
Leading up to the first match in South Africa, Dempsey was pestered by questions regarding the position that suited him best. He did not shy away from saying he has always wanted to be as close to goal as possible.
His nose for the net is evidenced by his nine goals for English Premier League club Fulham FC last season. The 27-year-old already has netted three times for the Cottagers this season.
Against Poland, which marks Dempsey’s first call-up of the 2014 World Cup cycle, the former Revs midfielder looks set to start at forward.
“It’s a tough question," Dempsey said of whether the move to forward for the USA is permanent. “Who knows? Whatever position I can be effective for this team — I don’t need to necessarily have a position that’s mapped out for me. I enjoy having the freedom to play different roles, and I feel I’m effective in most roles that I play.
“This week, that has been a position I’ve been playing — withdrawn forward — and maybe you can see me come gameday in that position.”