Landon Donovan: Clint Dempsey's goal tally for USMNT 'much more impressive'

United States men's national team forward Clint Dempsey has an opportunity to etch his name in the American record books with another pair of CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers underway on Thursday. Dempsey has found the net 56 times for the national team and is two goals away from surpassing legendary midfielder Landon Donovan and becoming the all-time goal scoring leader in USMNT history.

Here's the current list:

  1. Landon Donovan: 57
  2. Clint Dempsey: 56
  3. Jozy Altidore: 37
  4. Eric Wynalda: 34
  5. Brian McBride: 30

Bruce Arena's squad is preparing for a duel against Trinidad and Tobago in Colorado on Thursday and a showdown against heated rival Mexico at the Azteca on Sunday. Donovan, who is scheduled to be in attendance for Thursday, spoke to Goal.com and said that Dempsey's goal tally is far more impressive than his. Here's Donovan's explanation:

"I'm very proud of the record, there's no question," Donovan told Goal. "But when you put it in context, I don't know the numbers but I know Clint has fewer penalty goals than I had. I know he's done it in less caps than I have. I know he's probably done it in less years than I have.

"And you have to remember that he was overseas for a lot of years, so he didn't get to come in all the time and play friendlies in January against the Norwegian B team or Barbados," Donovan added. "So in my opinion he's done it in more difficult circumstances and that makes it that much more impressive."

Dempsey has 133 caps compared to Donovan's 157, so he's right.

It's nearly been a decade since we've had a new American goal king -- Donovan has held the record since 2008. He's got a point, because as a playmaking midfielder, the goal scoring chances are sort of limited. Dempsey playing up top has had more opportunities, sure, but he's also missed some time recently after being diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat. That was obviously a moment in his life where health came first and soccer second, so the fact that he's back in action and is on the cusp of breaking this mark remains incredibly impressive. Dempsey's first goal came 12 years ago against England in 2005, and I'm sure if he's unable to find the net twice in the qualifiers, he'll certainly break the mark in the Gold Cup. Considering his recent health scare, I'm sure it'll be worth the wait for Deuce.

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