[USA MEN] MLS may be the place to be for U.S. World Cup hopefuls, but national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann is not about to dismiss how important it is to play in a top-level European league. He says he's thrilled how Clint Dempsey is playing for the Seattle Sounders -- five goals and two assists in the last three MLS games -- but he says it's all due to his decision to go to England on loan at Fulham.
"[I'm] very happy that Clint has picked up the rhythm and find his confidence and is part of almost every goal that Seattle scores," he said in a USSoccer.com/T3Media interview. "That’s really a good sign, it’s great for us going into the final weeks before we hit the preparation for the World Cup knowing that he’s building his confidence more and more and more. And it’s due to his hard work that he put in for January, February, being at Fulham. It was not a successful time, but he built a foundation for the months afterward so he seems to now at the right time, at the right spot."
Dempsey didn't score in five EPL games with Fulham but he has six goals in five games with the Sounders, including five in the three games since he served a two-game suspension for lashing out at Toronto FC defender Mark Bloom.
With just weekends left before he must submit his 30-player World Cup short list to FIFA, Klinsmann says avoiding injuries was the obvious concern for his players.
"You hope that everybody stays healthy," he added. "You always forgive a bad performance. Bad performances, everybody has those, everybody can have a bad day. But first and foremost you want them to stay healthy from now on because if a new injury now happens, you have pretty much no chance to recover any more before the World Cup."