The Seattle Sounders made a winning start to their 2015 MLS season with a comfortable 3-0 victory over the New England Revolution on Sunday night, as Clint Dempsey bagged a brace either side of an Obafemi Martins’ strike to take home the man of the match award.
However, when speaking to MLSsoccer.com, the former Tottenham Hotspur forward was quick to single debutant Tyrone Mears out for particular praise, after the right-back put in an extremely impressive performance in his first competitive outing as DeAndre Yedlin’s replacement.
Having been without a club since leaving Bolton Wanderers in the summer prior to a winter move to the States, some had feared that it might take time for Mears to get up to full speed in Seattle, but the ex-Derby County and Burnley man eased those concerns from the get-go.
Looking solid both in defence and attack, the Englishman proved a constant threat to the Revolution defence and even came up with the assist for Martins’ 41st-minute goal, streaking down the right flank before delivering a pinpoint ball into the box for his new teammate to head home.
Named to the MLS Team of the Week as a result, Dempsey was more than thrilled with the 32-year-old’s contribution to the three points, and praised how he’s fitted into a line-up with little turnover from their 2014 Supporters’ Shield-winning campaign.
“[Mears] was great,” he said. “He’s come in and he’s added quality because of his experience playing in the Premier League and playing in the Championship.
“Having that experience gives you a little bit more composure in the final third in terms of your delivery, and I think that he did a good job of picking players out. But also I thought he was solid in terms of how he was breaking down plays and keeping possession for us.”
Mears managed just 32 total appearances for Bolton over three seasons due to a career-threatening leg break, but now looks to be back up to full speed after a successful preseason.
He faces a tough task in his bid to replicate the performances of now-Tottenham counterpart Yedlin but, after his first home game in front of a crowd of almost 40,000, is excited about his future in MLS.
“[The atmosphere] was fantastic. I said it’s the reason why I came to MLS,” he said on the CenturyLink Field crowd. “I was asked the question by FOX yesterday, why did I come to MLS? Well, it’s to play in front of these fans.
“It’s a fantastic experience. It’s like going to places like Old Trafford, Anfield – you look forward to playing against those teams to play in front of those fans and hear the atmosphere, and that’s the way it is in this stadium.”