Sounders FC forward Clint Dempsey is featured on the cover of one of Sports Illustrated’s World Cup preview issues unveiled Tuesday.
The cover shows Dempsey draped in a United States flag. The national team captain appears on one of four SI covers, while the others show Lionel Messi of Argentina, Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal and Luis Suarez of Uruguay.
Dempsey is the first Sounder to be featured on the SI cover.
“It’s hard to measure, but for sure it raises the profile of the club, and that ultimately I assume sells tickets and sponsorships and TV ratings,” Sounders general manager Adrian Hanauer said. “And, so, absolutely that’s part of the bigger picture.”
In 2010, Dempsey shared the SI cover with national team members Landon Donovan and Tim Howard.
The Seattle Seahawks also were featured before and after winning this year’s Super Bowl, but Sounders coach Sigi Schmid noted Tuesday that a World Cup is a much bigger event.
“Unless you’re there, you really don’t know how big an event is it,” he said. “No offense to Seattle Seahawks and the Super Bowl, but it’s the Super Bowl times 10.”
Dempsey will experience his third World Cup, and Sounders teammate DeAndre Yedlin his first starting next week, when the U.S. team heads to Brazil after its final friendly tuneup against Nigeria at 3 p.m. Saturday in Jacksonville, Florida.
The USA moved to 2-0 in its Send-Off Series with a 2-1 win over Turkey on Sunday in New Jersey.
Dempsey started and scored what proved to be the winning goal in that one, while Yedlin substituted in the second half.
“I thought Clint played well,” Schmid said. “I thought he was very good in the first 45 minutes. He gives, I think, the U.S. team a creativity that without him on the field is not necessarily present — especially in that position. ... I thought DeAndre — after he got rid of that first pass — I think after that it was pretty good. He’s still learning, he’s still growing.”
The Chicago Fire has played a dozen Major League Soccer games this season, with seven of those ending in draws.
That ties them with the Portland Timbers for the most draws in MLS. And by the time the Sounders visit Chicago on Saturday, the Fire could be alone at the top — depending on their result at Colorado on Wednesday.
What’s going on here? Are all those draws a statistical fluke, or do some team styles lend themselves to even results.
“It’s tough to beat them because they do battle and compete,” Schmid said. “But it’s also tough for them to beat you. ... We just have to go in and play our way.”
The Sounders lost three players to injury Sunday during a 1-0 MLS Reserve League loss to LA Galaxy II of USL Pro. According to Schmid, midfielder Andy Rose underwent meniscus surgery Tuesday and is expected to miss three-to-six weeks. Left back Dylan Remick suffered an adductor pull. He believes he can be back around the end of the month, when the MLS season resumes after a three-week World Cup break. Midfielder Tristan Bowen is going through the league-mandated concussion protocol. Schmid also said that central defender Djimi Traore, who suffered a leg adductor injury May 24 at Vancouver has begun what is expected to be a four- to six-week recovery. ... If the Sounders advance past PSA Elite (USASA) in the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup on June 18 at Starfire Stadium in Tukwila they will play host to the winner of the June 11 match between the San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) and Sacramento Republic (USL Pro). A coin flip determined the Sounders would play the Republic at 7 p.m. June 24 at Starfire or San Jose on a date to be determined.