Clint Dempsey would rather get a win than a record in World Cup qualifier

For a soccer player as accomplished as Clint Dempsey, asking him to choose a favorite international goal can be a little like asking a parent to pick a favorite child. The answer you’ll most likely get is “they’re all special in their own way.”

Plus Dempsey, who has scored 56 times for the national team, has so many to choose from. But if he had to pick just one, he said Tuesday, it would be his second competitive goal for the U.S., against Ghana in the 2006 World Cup.

“To score in the World Cup,” he said “that was what I dreamed about as a kid.”

Dempsey never could have dreamed of the achievement his next goal will bring, however, because with one more score he’ll tie Landon Donovan’s U.S. record. He has more international goals than Brazilians Romario and Neymar, England’s Wayne Rooney and anyone who has played for Mexico.

And he’s only two behind Argentina’s Lionel Messi.

Dempsey gets his next chance at history Thursday, when the U.S. resumes World Cup qualifying against Trinidad and Tobago in suburban Denver. In the last two qualifiers in March, Dempsey had a hat trick in a win over Honduras and scored the only U.S. goal in a tie with Panama, giving him goals in the last three qualifiers in which he has played.

But Dempsey said his focus against Trinidad and Tobago will be on the scoreboard, not the scoresheet, since the U.S. needs a win to improve its chances of advancing to the 2018 tournament in Russia.

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