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Keith Hickey: Clint Dempsey finally plays like a superstar


PORTLAND, Ore. -- 236 days after walking onto the turf at CenturyLink Field and unzipping a hoodie to reveal a Seattle Sounders jersey, the real Clint Dempsey has finally arrived in Major league Soccer, netting a hat trick to lead his team to a thrilling 4-4 draw against its arch rival, the Portland Timbers.

After arriving in MLS from Tottenham Hotspur at the end of last season, it was nine appearances before the U.S. men's national team captain found his first and only goal of 2013 campaign. Following three playoff games without a goal, including two humiliating losses to Portland, doubts about Dempsey began to surface. Was he really worth the huge contract and record transfer fee MLS had committed to lure him home?

It's funny how quickly things change in soccer.

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