Soccer has taken Seattle Sounders FC captain Clint Dempsey all around the world. From FIFA World Cups on three different continents with the U.S Men’s National Team, to his tenure as a professional in England, Dempsey has experienced soccer in some of the best venues on the planet. He has made some his best memories with the national team right here in Columbus.
Since 2001, MAPFRE Stadium has hosted four matches between the USMNT and rival Mexico. All of those matches have resulted in 2-0 American wins, inspiring the “Dos a Cero” nickname for the rivalry’s Columbus chapter. The most recent game between the two sides in Columbus helped the United States secure a spot in the 2014 World Cup
“It’s always been good memories for us there,” Dempsey said in an exclusive interview with ColumbusCrewSC.com. “That was always a place that we seemed to play well at and be able to get the points we needed to qualify for the World Cup. So, it’s a place that is special in U.S. history.”
Dempsey has fond memories of MAPFRE Stadium’s electric atmosphere.
“The atmosphere has always been good because it’s more of a pro-American crowd during World Cup qualifying games. You were able to feel that home field advantage, which is important,” Dempsey said. “Having an environment like that definitely gives a team a lift and that’s why we always perform well there.”
This time around, MAPFRE Stadium won’t be as welcoming to Dempsey, however. Crew SC is aiming to make his return as uncomfortable as possible. The Black & Gold have won nine of its past 11 matches within the friendly confines of MAPFRE Stadium.
Crew SC has scored 10 of its 12 goals this season at home for an average of 2.5 goals per game. Meanwhile, it has only conceded three. Columbus is the only club in Major League Soccer to have reached the 10-goal mark at home and its home goal differential of plus seven is the best such mark in League. Over its past two home matches Crew SC has amassed seven tallies, more than or equal to the total season home goal output of 12 other MLS clubs.
Long story short: MAPFRE Stadium is not an easy place to play for visitors. With the national team, Dempsey is used to having the Columbus crowd on his side, but Saturday night will be different.
Saturday’s match will kick-off at 7:30 p.m. Get your tickets here to see Crew SC take on Dempsey and company at MAPFRE Stadium! If you can’t make it to MAPFRE Stadium, catch the action on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel, CD 102.5 or La Mega 103.1.
Also don't miss this weekend's national broadcasts. On Friday, Orlando City SC hosts the New England Revolution at 8 p.m. and the Colorado Rapids welcome the San Jose Earthquakes at 10 p.m. Both matches are live on Univision Deportes. On Sunday, catch Toronto FC vs. Houston Dynamo on ESPN2 (5 p.m.) and New York Red Bulls vs. New York City FC on FoxSports 1 (7 p.m.).