'Dos a Cero': Did Clint Dempsey Miss Penalty Kick on Purpose?

'Dos a Cero': Did Clint Dempsey Miss Penalty Kick on Purpose?

“Dos a cero.” “Dos a cero.” “Dos a cero.” 

The crowd in Columbus, Ohio was chanting that in the waning seconds of what seemed like yet another special 2-0 victory over Mexico in a World Cup qualifier for the United States. “Dos a cero” means “two to zero” in Spanish, and it is a magical score in the bitter United States-Mexico soccer rivalry. Three times last decade in World Cup qualifiers in Columbus, the United States defeated Mexico 2-0. And for good measure, the United States also defeated Mexico 2-0 on a neutral field in South Korea in front of the world during the 2002 World Cup.

It was with that history in mind that United States captain Clint Dempsey stepped up to take his penalty kick in the waning seconds of injury time with the United States having the game–and what also seemed like a ticket to the 2014 World Cup–solidly in hand. (The U.S. later qualified for the World Cup when Honduras tied Panama.)

The lethal striker of the ball who has a knack for scoring from anywhere attempted his penalty kick… and the ball ended up in a different area code. Not even close. His attempt was so laughingly and uncharacteristically bad that former United States national team star Cobi Jones, along with many others, immediately suspected Dempsey may have missed the kick on purpose to ensure the United States won 2-0 over Mexico yet again.

Dempsey, the gritty player from Texas who grew up loving the “toca toca” style of play and the history of the game, is the type of player who takes symbolism and history seriously enough to attempt such a thing. See the video and decide for yourself: