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Play by Play

Sit Down. Relax. And Enjoy the Clint Dempsey Show

He's ranked No. 1 in our ASN 100 for a reason: Clint Dempsey is a special player. He showed it with with a two-goal performance against Guatemala and he's starting for Spurs today. Play by play below.
BY John Godfrey Posted
October 20, 2012
3:35 AM
We won't name names, but when Clint Dempsey moved from Fulham to Tottenham there were quite a few "experts" who insisted that the Nacogdoches native would struggle to find playing time at a top-tier English Premier League team such as Spurs.

He's not good enough, they insisted. He was a star at Craven Cottage but he will be a bench warmer and part-time player at White Hart Lane.

They were wrong.

Dempsey is once again in Andre Villas-Boas' starting lineup for today's London derby against Chelsea (ESPN2, 7:45 a.m. ET), this time in a midfield that also features Tom Huddlestone, Aaron Lennon, and Sandro. (Gareth Bale is not available today, as his girlfriend is about to give birth.)

American goalkeeper Brad Friedel is also in the first XI, although his record 310-game consecutive start streak ended earlier this month. Deuce will mix it up with some tough customers in the Chelsea midfield: Ramires, Juan Mata, John Mikel Obi, and the ascendant Eden Hazard.

While ASN is always thrilled to see multiple Americans playing in a high-level match, the game is compelling on its own merits. Are Spurs going to be true contenders for a Champions League spot this season? They have looked fantastic in recent weeks, and this match against a tough crosstown rival should be something special.

Be sure to check back here for updates on the match, with a heavy emphasis on the performances of Dempsey and Friedel.

3rd Minute: Dempsey was pulled down about 35 yards out, resulting in a free kick. William Gallas gets his left foot on the spot kick, but it's only a half-chance and he sends his shot wide.

10th Minute: Deuce playing wide left in a 4-4-2. Looks very energetic—but how could you not be in this environment? White Hart Lane in full voice, as they say.

16th Minute: Isolated on the left wing, Dempsey makes an ambitious run and attempts to pass to himself along the touchline, but he turns the ball over. AVB applauds the effort.

17th Minute: GOAL Chelsea. Gary Cahill, playing for the suspended John Terry, hits a brilliant volley from the top of the box that flies past Friedel and quiets the home crowd. The American goalkeeper would have had to make a brilliant reflex save to stop it, and Tottenham has its work cut out for them.

20th Minute: Jermaine Defoe shoots from 20 yards out and Dempsey nearly gets to the rebound, but it's cleared by Chelsea.

25th Minute: Dempsey moves inside and forward. He lacks Bale's game-changing speed, and AVB is right to move him into the center of the attack.

31st Minute: Spurs starting to get into the swing of things. Good possession and attack, but the final touch is lacking.

34th Minute: Fernando Torres looking dangerous on the right side of the Chelsea attack. He is certainly back in form.

38th Minute: Lennon feeds Dempsey on the right wing but Deuce decides against going forward and gives up the ball. The White Hart Lane crowd groans its disapproval. Not a good moment.

39th Minute: Friedel dives to his right to stop Juan Mata's strong right-footed shot.

43rd Minute: Dempsey gets a good shot off from inside the box, but a sliding Chelsea defender blocks it. On the ensuing corner, Dempsey gets off another strong shot; also blocked. Spurs pushing for the equalizer.

HALFTIME: Chelsea 1, Tottenham 0. Dempsey had a few substandard touches in the early parts of the half, but picked up his game closer to intermission. Should be an interesting second half.

46th Minute: And just like that, William Gallas heads a cross in from directly in front of goal. Messy play but all level.

54th Minute: Tottenham pushing forward. And SCORES again. Tottenham 2-1. This time it's Defoe from inside the box on an Aaron Lennon mis-hit.

62nd Minute: Dempsey pushing forward and poised to pounce on any rebound. So far Chelsea's Peter Cech is doing a great job holding onto the ball. Still Spurs 2, Chelsea 1.

65th Minute: Mata equalizes with a deft left-footed volley. This game is building to a great finish.

69th Minute: Mata AGAIN. Chelsea up 3-2. We'll say it again: This game is building to a great finish.

70th Minute: Friedel could not have been expected to stop any of Chelsea's goals...but the fact remains he did not stop any of Chelsea's goals. The first and third goals were well-taken but not impossible to stop.

74th Minute: Dempsey comes off. Emmanuel Adebayor comes on. Solid but unspectacular performance by Deuce, and a good move by AVB. Will it make a difference in this tight, tense derby?

89th Minute: A rebound falls to Adebayor but he doesn't put it away. Seems a bit off his game. Would Deuce have done better with that chance?

91st Minute: Juan Mata burns Kyle Walker and sets up Daniel Sturridge for a simple tap-in. 4-2 Chelsea, game over. Mata undeniably the Man of the Match.

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