Photo by Don Feria/ISIphotos.com
By FRANCO PANIZO
When Clint Dempsey was removed from the U.S. Men’s National Team’s starting lineup just minutes before Tuesday’s kickoff against Azerbaijan, the fear of the U.S. captain missing the World Cup began to settle into the hearts of American fans everywhere.
U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann effectively put those fears to rest late Tuesday night.
Klinsmann said following the Americans’ 2-0 win over Azerbaijan in San Francisco that Dempsey was made a late scratch during pre-game warm-ups because of precautionary measures. Dempsey had initially felt some discomfort in his groin on Monday and thought it would be best to rest rather than risk a long-term injury after going through the pre-game drills at Candlestick Park on Tuesday.
“It’s not serious at all,” said Klinsmann, who replaced Dempsey in the lineup with Chris Wondolowski. “He had a little pain yesterday in training and he told me about it. In the warm-up, he was just a little bit nervous about it. I talked to the physio about it and he said he needs just one or two days of rest. That’s what he needs and because of that work that we did, the players have pretty much been on the edge.
“That’s what we have to do: prepare them for something bigger. I decided that at the warm-up talking to Clint and talking to (team physio Ivan Pierra) that let’s keep it to two days as it’s going on, so it should be no problem at all for Turkey.”
If Dempsey’s injury had been serious, Klinsmann could have replaced the veteran attacker on the 23-man squad that is headed to Brazil in a couple of weeks.
The Americans play host to Turkey at Red Bull Arena on Sunday in the second of the U.S.’s three send-off series games.
Glad to know Dempsey’s injury is not serious? Expecting him to start and go the distance vs. Turkey? Surprised it was Wondolowski who filled in for him in the lineup vs. Azerbaijan?
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