[MLS SPOTLIGHT]Clint Dempsey wasn't called up to the U.S. national team for the final two games of World Cup qualifying, but he is set to make his return to the Seattle Sounders as soon as Wednesday night. Seattle coach Sigi Schmidtold Seattle reporters on Tuesday that Dempsey, who has been sidelined since Sept. 13 with a hamstring strain, would be in the Sounders' game-day squad for Wednesday's Cascadia Cup match against Vancouver.
Dempsey has played just 355 minutes since arriving from Tottenham on Aug. 3. He has not scored a goal and or an assist in five games (three starts). He was rested for the USA's friendly at Bosnia-Herzegovina, which allowed him to go on a New York media tour the Monday after the Sounders' game at Toronto.
His signing came in the middle of the Tottenham preseason, which meant the five MLS games and two World Cup qualifiers in September are the only competitive games he's played in almost four months.
U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann expressed concern about Dempsey's lack of match fitness.
“For Clint," he said in a Q&A with USSoccer.com, "it is really important to pick up the rhythm, to get back into shape and play games. He needs to train very intensely and get as many sessions as possible. He had injury problems, the transfer was done late and he didn’t have a proper preseason, and he’s running behind. So he has to do some catching up and he will eventually get it done.”
Dempsey and Omar Gonzalez, who pulled out of the U.S. squad for the Jamaica and Panama games, were the only only players to have played in all eight Hexagonal matches for the USA.
The Sounders will clinch a playoff berth on Wednesday if they beat the 'Caps or San Jose doesn't beat Colorado.
But they have two players on Hexagonal duty -- Eddie Johnson and Brad Evans -- and several players besides Dempsey dealing with injury issues.
Defenders Leo Gonzalez and Djimi Traore and midfielder Shalrie Joseph are all listed as questionable. Schmid said Traore and Obafemi Martins, who missed the 5-1 Colorado loss on Saturday, would be available for selection.