Clint Dempsey To Miss Rest Of 2016 MLS Season, Mexico World Cup Qualifier
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The positive atmosphere surrounding Clint Dempsey’s return to light training on September 14th has been dashed following the devastating Seattle Sounders’ announcement that the 33-year-old forward will not return in 2016.
The Sounders have five regular season games remaining with which to gain ground on rivals Portland Timbers for the coveted sixth and final playoff place in the Western Conference.
However, should the Sounders qualify for the playoffs (beginning on October 26th and culminating with MLS Cup on December 10th), Dempsey will still not be available for the club.
Sounders general manager Garth Lagerwey had this to say to reporters: “We simply haven’t got to a point where we were comfortable that there was a realistic chance [of Dempsey’s return this year]. As we said in the first round of comments, we are not comfortable putting any kind of pressure on this.
“His return to play is not important relative to his health, both short- and long-term. We feel by ruling him out today it puts us in the best position to get him back, hopefully for the start of the 2017 season.”
— Seattle Sounders FC (@SoundersFC) September 27, 2016
Inherent in ruling Dempsey out for the remainder of 2016 is his corresponding unavailability for the USMNT. The United States is slated to play Cuba on October 7 in Havana, New Zealand on October 11 in Washington, D.C. and two crucial World Cup qualifiers in November.
The first, of course, is against Mexico on November 11 in Columbus, Ohio. The second is against Costa Rica on November 15.
Dempsey finishes the season with eight goals and one assist from 17 appearances. He scored four goals in 10 appearances for the USMNT throughout 2016, taking his total to 52 (second-most all-time) in 130 matches (fourth-most all-time).
(H/T: ESPN FC)
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