World Cup Qualifying

Dempsey gets back to work as USMNT continues preparations for qualifiers

Dempsey (ISI)

Photo by ISIphotos.com

Preparations for two World Cup qualifiers against Jamaica continue for the U.S. men's national team, and according to U.S. Soccer, all 23 players had arrived in Miami (Nick Rimando will replace Sean Johnson in camp after the first match) ahead of Tuesday's training session. One of those players is Clint Dempsey, whose fitness and role in the upcoming matches will continue to be topics of scrutiny and discussion for the coming days.

Fresh off his transfer deadline move to Tottenham — one of Jurgen Klinsmann's former teams — and being given the No. 2 jersey with the London club, Dempsey has joined his international teammates on the training field, getting back to work after a tenuous and unstable preseason period with Fulham.

“It was good to get back into the team, with the guys, and good for me to get back into training," Dempsey told U.S. Soccer's official website on Tuesday. "I’ve been training with a trainer, but it’s good for me to get back in playing with teammates.

"Everybody is excited and looking forward to continuing this run of doing things that are special – the first time winning in Italy, first time winning against Mexico and if we beat Jamaica it will be the first time there doing that. We’re just trying to keep doing things that are special and try to qualify for the World Cup, because that’s the main goal.”

For Dempsey, being out of fitness ahead of recent U.S. matches is not all that new. He was held out of the U.S. friendly against Scotland in May and was brought on as a second-half substitute against Brazil as he built back his fitness following an injury layoff at the end of Fulham's season. He then went on to play 90 minutes in a friendly against Canada and two qualifiers in which he scored against Antigua & Barbuda and Guatemala on June 8 and 12 — the last competitive matches in which he has played.

Klinsmann said on Sunday that he would take the ensuing days to assess the fitness and progress of Dempsey, who scored the last time the U.S. played Jamaica back in the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup, and that he had no problems "throwing him in the water right away" if he checked out. With Landon Donovan and Michael Bradley unavailable due to injury, it would be a substantial lift for the U.S. if Dempsey were to be able to go beginning with Friday's match in Kingston.


What are your expectations from Dempsey in these two matches? Do you realistically think he can step in for the U.S. and have an impact after not playing a competitive match for almost three months? Do you think the U.S. can find success without him, Donovan and Bradley? 

Share your thoughts below.

  • Sergio Hernandez

    I am really curious to see who Klinsmann starts in the midfield on Friday. I can’t say I’ve been impressed with Torres’ recent performances, but I think he’ll get the start. I would like to see Beckerman, Jones, Dempsey, and Shea in the middle with Altidore and Gomez up top. Also would like to see Cameron and Edu get another run at center back, but I bet Bocanegra gets the start with Cameron.


  • EJ

    I thought I read he was given the #9 as well (that would keep with his Jordan uni number theme, as MJ wore that in the Olympics). I actually thought he’d end up going with #2, b/c of the “Deuce” nickname and all.

    Be interesting to see what he actually did take. 9 or 2.


  • Old School

    Nope, it’s #2.

    It’s already for sale on your typical sporting goods/memorabilia websites.


  • Shawn

    I would rather see Shea and Gomez as wingers/ outside mids and Jozy as the single striker. Dempsey as the CAM/ withdrawn forward. Jones as the linking midfielder and Beckerman as the number 8. I think Cam and Boc as CBs is fine. Though I wouldn’t mind Cam as dmid with Boc and Edu, or Edu as Dmid with Cam and Boc, as CBs.


  • Shawn

    That depends on who you are refering to as Dmids. I don’t think Jones has ever been given a dmid role under JK. He could roll out some type of combination of Edu, Beckerman, Jones, and Williams in a three mid combination…. I would hate that too.


  • elgringorico

    He’ll play both games. Klinsy is just stressing that people who haven’t been playing don’t get automatic playing time, which is good.


  • vic

    If Torres starts Klinnsmann needs to play someone to the left of him. Torres can only stay in the middle. Torres doesn’t have the speed to beat people on the left. I would actually like to see Corona given a shot over Torres. Although Torres is a little better for possession, Corona is more flexible. He can score, make a better final pass and take people on better than Torres.


  • Brain Guy

    I think you’ll see Torres in the center. JK has said that Torres needs to start putting his stamp on a game. I don’t think JK will move him from where he’s been playing, but will have him under a microscope. These two matches may be “put up or shut up” time for Torres. Then again, we’ve all said/thought that before.


  • Vic

    I agree Torres needs to be in the center. However if this is the midfield:
    Torres Dempsey
    Beckerman Jones

    Torres will have to play a duel role since there won’t be anyone on his left. Thats been the problem before where Torres tries to make runs on the left and loses the ball. If Klinnsman wants to play Torres I believe he needs one of these lineups:
    -Only one def midfielder
    Shea Torres Dempsey
    or one forward
    Dempsey Torres Gomez
    Beckerman Jones


  • Waterlewd

    I think our roster lacks width in midield and JK knows that’s a limitation on our tactics, so we’ll probably see a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1.




  • dikranovich

    its probably almost a lock that any lineup will include danny williams, because he is a solid defender and will matchup well against the jamaicans.


  • Colin in MT

    Dempsey. Gomez
    Williams. Jones
    Johnson. Boca. Cameron. Dolo

    Sub in Shea for Dempsey
    Boyd for Jozy
    Corona/Zusi for Torres

    Williams and Jones are athletic/fast enough to cover
    Torres can pull the strings in a true #8 role
    Dempsey and Gomez have room to create and play off Jozy


  • Spank

    sub in Shea for Torres and shift Dempsey to CAM and Shea in Dempsey’s spot. That would be my choice and the rest of your line up can stay the same


  • PD

    With Edu and Cameron at the same club I have a real hard time thinking these two haven’t doubled their rating going forward… And any other yank that can get onto that club will to the same ( stares in Bedoya and She’s general direction ). Having national side players as club mates is a very popular trend. While Stoke is not Bayern or Barca it would be a great start… Especially since it looks like Everton missed the Donovan/Dempsey window.


  • PD

    Michael Bradley has been the exception in what has otherwise been a trend of slowly developing players. Torres will get steadily better, but I doubt he will ever stamp a game. That said, this side needs his composure and ball skills.


  • brian I

    I don’t know, why but I found that oddly hilarious…thank you for the laugh. Josh and Wispy’s comments


  • Dennis

    I would like to see Edu and Cameron in the middle together again. I think Edu offers more quickness than Boca. For the same sort of athleticism reasons, the midfield will include Jones and Williams or Johnson. Klinsmann likes Beckerman, so he will be there as well. Up top, Boyd and Gomez will likely get starts. So will Dempsey. So I think something like this will be in the offing:

    Boyd(Altidore) Gomez
    Johnson(Shea) Jones Beckerman(Zusi) Dempsey
    Spector or Boconegra Edu Cameron Cherundolo

    Whether it is a 4-4-2 or a 4-3-3 with Dempsey as forward is a good question. If Zusi comes in for Beckerman, Dempsey would likely more forward and central.

    I don’t really like any of the choices for LM that much, it is not Williams natural position, Shea has been light on defending (but he is good for a couple dangerous dribbles into the box), Torres has too often disappeared when played there. Johnson is probably the best LB so he is probably needed there. Whoever is on the left will need to handle Dane Richards’ speed, which might argue Williams and Johnson as the LM and LB.


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