Dempsey strikes twice to become Fulham's all-time best Premier League goal scorer.
By Robert Wagman (in Washington, D.C.)
(Thursday, April 28, 2011) -- United States attacker Clint Dempsey scored a pair of goals to lead Fulham to a 3-0 defeat of Bolton Wanderers last night, bringing his career English Premier League total to 33, a team record.
Dempsey passed fellow American and U.S. star striker Brian McBride and long-time Craven Cottage hero Steed Malbranque of France, both who had 32.
Dempsey opened the scoring in the 15th minute when he flew through the air to volley in a poorly-cleared corner kick. In the 48th minute, he made it 2-0 when he tapped home Eidur Gudjohnsen's flicked pass.
Brede Hangeland added a third goal, while Dempsey twice came close to a hat trick.
Breaking the record is "a great honor and, of course, it's very pleasing," Dempsey said after the match. "I found out about the record when I read it in the program before the game. I saw the statistic that if I'd have scored against (Wolverhampton) Wolves (the previous Saturday), it would have tied me with McBride and Steed Malbranque, so it was great to get two tonight and be among that company. Hopefully I can keep scoring goals now.
"I was fired up to get goals because I haven't scored in three games. I was starting to get the itch a little and feel the pressure to perform, so it was good that I was able to do that tonight and help be a part of the team's success in getting the three points to get us into the top half of the table. That's what's important tonight. Now, hopefully we can stay there for the rest of the season."
Fulham got off to a slow start this season and for weeks flirted with the relegation zone. Now, after going 6-0-1 in its last seven home matches, the Cottagers are tied for ninth place at (9-10-15) with 42 points.
Fulham also received some good news this past week which might complicate life for Dempsey. European governing body UEFA keeps close track of what teams and leagues receive the fewest yellow and red cards over the course of a season and it rewards the three teams with the lowest number in the so-called Fair Play league, with berths in the qualifying rounds for next season's second-tier Europa League.
Currently, Fulham stands in second place in the English Premier League behind Chelsea. The Premiership as a whole has done well with the latest figures published by UEFA, showing England second behind Norway in the Respect Fair Play ratings. Thus one of the spots will likely go to a EPL team. Chelsea looks like odds on favorites to either qualify for top-tier Champions League play or at least a Champions League play-in spot. That would leave the Fair Play spot for Fulham.
That could be a problem for Dempsey. The summer, the U.S. men will be involved in the CONCACAF Gold Cup. As things now stand, Dempsey will go directly from the final Fulham league match to the U.S. camp ahead of a friendly with Spain and then Gold Cup group play. Should the U.S., as expected, go deep into the tournament for the region of North America, Central America and the Caribbean, it likely be playing as late as the Gold Cup final on June 25.
If Fulham is issued the Fair Play slot, it would have qualifying match which would come while the Gold Cup was still in progress.
Dempsey thinks that would be too much. "I haven't had much of a rest in the summer since I came to Fulham," he said. "I guess a career is not that long, but I do need a bit of break, hopefully the 17-19 days that's normal to recharge the batteries. There would not be much for a break for me,"
"The Gold Cup is important for the USA. . . although it would be exciting to be back in Europe."
Earlier, Dempsey played 80 minutes in Saturday's disappointing 1-1 draw with relegation-challenged Wolverhampton.
American keeper Marcus Hahnemann served as Wolves' backup goalkeeper, as usual.
U.S. keeper Tim Howard put on a gutsy performance, making five saves and earning a yellow card for Everton in its 1-0 loss Saturday against Manchester United.
American keeper Brad Friedel saved a standings point for Aston Villa with a pair of sensational saves in a 1-1 draw Saturday with Stoke City.
U.S. midfielder Michael Bradley and keeper Brad Guzan watched from the Villa bench. Neither played in Villa's final reserve match, a 2-1 loss to Chelsea reserves on April 19.
U.S. defender Jonathan Spector went 90 minutes for West Ham United in a 3-0 loss Saturday to Chelsea.
German-American Jermaine Jones also played 90 minutes on the right side of midfield for Blackburn Rovers, who dropped a tight 1-0 match Monday to Manchester City, receiving a yellow card in the 49th minute for a rough tackle.
U.S. midfielder Stuart Holden is still recovering from knee surgery and sidelined for Bolton, a surprising 2-1 winner over Arsenal on Sunday.
Monday was a Bank Holiday in England, making it a busy time for the second-tier League Championship and third-division League One with most team playing a pair of matches.
In the League Championship, Americam defender Eric Lichaj went the distance in a pair of low scoring defensive duals for Leeds United. On Friday, he played well in a 0-0 draw with Reading. On Monday afternoon, Leeds lost 1-0 to Crystal Palace on a second-minute tally.
American forward Mike Grella did not dress for Leeds in either match.
American defender Zak Whitbread played 57 minutes for Norwich City in a 3-2 victory over Derby County on Monday.
American striker Conor Doyle did not dress for Derby County against Norwich or for County's 4-2 setback Saturday at the hands of Burnley.
U.S. striker Robbie Findley, back from thigh and Achilles tendon problems, made a pair of second-half appearances for Nottingham Forest. On Friday, he played the final 10 minutes in a 3-2 win over Leicester City. On Monday afternoon, he entered in the 65th minute and Forest boosted its playoff hopes with another 3-2 triumph over Bristol City.
U.S. striker Eddie Johnson and Preston North End had a lost holiday weekend. On Saturday, Johnson played 90 minutes and received a yellow card in a 4-0 loss Saturday to Millwall. Two days later, Johnson did not dress for a 1-0 loss to Cardiff City, insuring North End will be relegated to League One next season, its first demotion in 18 years
In League One, American defender Frank Simek played 90 minutes for Carlisle United in a 3-2 decision Saturday over Rochdale. On Monday afternoon, Simek again went the distance in a 1-0 win over Leyton Orient.
American midfielder Anton Peterlin went 89 minutes for Plymouth Argyle which registered a 1-0 victory over Dagenham & Redbridge on Friday night. On Monday, Peterlin came on in the 58th minute a 1-0 triumph over MK Dons.
In Scotland, U.S. midfielder Maurice Edu started and played 84 minutes Sunday for Glasgow Rangers in a 0-0 draw with Glasgow Celtic.
In the German Bundesliga, U.S. midfielder Ricardo Clark went 90 minutes for Eintracht Frankfurt in a 1-1 tie Saturday with Bayern Munich.
American defender Timmy Chandler played in midfield in 1. FC Nürnberg's 0-0 draw with 1. FSV Mainz 05 on Sunday.
Hannover 96, employer of U.S. defender Steve Cherundolo and midfielder DaMarcus Beasley, was off, as was SC Freiburg with American midfielder\defender Daniel Williams.
In the 2. Bundesliga, American David Yelldell put in a brave performance in goal Monday night for MSV Duisburg, but it was not enough because league leader Hertha Berlin made a single goal stand up for a 1-0 victory and thus guaranteed itself promotion back into the Bundesliga next season.
Colombian Adrian Ramos beat him in the first half, but Yelldell kept Duisburg in the match, pushing a drive by Ramos around a goal-post in the 83rd minute and stopping a rocket free kick from Brazilian Raphael in the 89th minute.
American midfielder Alfredo Morales did not dress for Hertha.
American Luis Robles was in goal for Karlsruhe in its 2-1 Saturday to RW Oberhausen.
American striker Edson Buddle played the final 18 minutes for FC Ingolstadt 04, which drew 1-1 Sunday with FC Union Berlin.
American Amaechi Igwe remains sidelined for Ingolstadt with a knee injury.
American forward Bobby Wood did not dress for TSV 1860 Munich in its 3-0 victory over SpVgg Greuther Furth on Saturday.
In France's Ligue 1, U.S. defender Carlos Bocanegra went the distance for St. Etienne, which was upset 2-0 Sunday by Bordeaux.
In the Netherlands, U.S. defender Oguchi Onyewu is apparently out-of-favor. He played only the final minute for Twente Enschede in a 2-1 decision Friday over ADO Den Haag.
In Turkey, U.S striker Jozy Altidore came off the bench for the last minute of regulation for Bursaspor, a 2-1 winner over Manisaspor on Saturday.
American midfielder Freddy Adu and Caykur Rizespor had the weekend off.
In Belgium, U.S. midfielder Sacha Kljestan served a yellow-card suspension and sat out for RSC Anderlecht, which recorded a 2-1 playoff victory Sunday over Lokeren.
In Denmark, U.S. forward Chris Rolfe came off the bench and scored Aalbor BK's second goal while playing the final half hour of a 3-3 draw Sunday with FC Nordsjaelland. Rolfe found net for the first time this season with a hard shot from the left side after a nice run.
American attacker Marcus Tracy is out for Aalborg with a knee injury. American defender Michael Parkhurst did not dress in for Nordsjaelland.
U.S. defender Clarence Goodson is now fully recovered from a broken toe and returned to Brøndby IF's starting lineup. Last Thursday, he scored Brøndby's first goal on a header off a corner kick before halftime en route to a 3-0 triumph over Esbjerg.
On Monday night, he again went the distance in a strong defensive effort for a 4-0 win over Randers FC.
With six games remaining in the Danish Superliga season, Brøndby (11-7-9, 42 points) sits in third place which brings a Europa League qualifying spot. It trails OB (13-9-5) by two points for second place, which would mean a Champions League qualifying berth. København is the runaway leader at 22-1-4 with 70 points.
In Sweden, American midfielder Alejandro Bedoya went the distance and received a yellow card in the 44th minute for Orebro SK in a 1-1 draw with Helsingborg on Monday.
Gale Agbossoumonde, a 19-year-old defender born in Togo, started and played 62 minutes for Djurgardens IF, which fell 3-1 Sunday to Norrkoping.
American midfielder\defender Ryan Miller played the final three minutes for Halmstads BK's 1-1 draw Sunday with Trelleborg FF.
In Norway, American midfielder Mikkel Diskerud went 90 minutes Monday night for Stabaek IF, which defeated Fredrikstad 3-1.
American winger Josh Gatt entered in the 64th minute Monday night for Molde FK in its 3-1 victory over Brann.
American left back Sean Cunningham dressed, but did not play for Molde.
Robert Wagman is SoccerTimes senior correspondent.
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