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Commentary: Clint Dempsey – A Seattle sports icon? One say…but not yet

We start by putting our spotlight on the Seattle’s biggest sports icons playing in SODO – and raise the question, is it time to add Clint Dempsey to this exclusive list, or still way too early?

Most would agree that Felix Hernandez and Russell Wilson are currently Seattle’s most-beloved athletes. For Felix, it took time to build that reputation, thanks to a mediocre surrounding cast. For Russell, it came early with a Super Bowl title in just his second year.

So the question is – at what point would we embrace Dempsey as not only truly our own, but also on equal footing with the other two? Would it take an MLS Cup – or a longer sustained run of incredible dominance like we’ve seen from him in the last month?

After all, tomorrow, Dempsey will likely be named MLS Player of the Week for the third time already this season. His seven goals in the last four games have set new franchise marks – and is the early front runner for league MVP. Combine that with his national team profile and history of success on the international level, and one could argue that it vaults him into an elite category where very few Seattle sports stars belong.

But in my opinion, a major part of the criteria in this debate comes down to what an athlete has done here in Seattle – for OUR local teams.

High profile is great, but not enough to singlehandedly boost one into that exclusive club – just ask Robinson Cano, given his short time here so far. Maybe one day, but certainly not now.

That being said – If Dempsey continues to score three goals in rivalry games like he did against Portland this month – make a mark in the playoffs, and have a huge impact in critical situations – Dempsey will achieve that right. He’s definitely on his way.

Face of the Sounders franchise? Absolutely. No doubt about it.

But in the same category as Felix and Russell Wilson? It might be at least a year or two before we really know that answer.

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