Friday Kickoff: Dempsey's back, Everton retains hope of Donovan deal and more

Friday Kickoff: Dempsey's back, Everton retains hope of Donovan deal and more

Americans Abroad

Friday Kickoff: Dempsey's back, Everton retains hope of Donovan deal and more

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Clint Dempsey (GettyImages)

Clint Dempsey's impressive and quick recovery from a slightly torn PCL was the news of the day on Thursday, with the U.S. national team striker playing 30 minutes in Fulham's 3-1 Europa League loss to Juventus.

Dempsey didn't make much of an impact on the match, but his return provides a major boost to a national team in dire need of options at forward.

Dempsey's return came less than two months after first suffering a knee injury that sparked fears he would miss the World Cup. Now, Dempsey is poised to have two months of action in England before World Cup training camp, meaning the U.S. national team is one step closer to being healthy.

Oguchi Onyewu is on the path to recovery, having recently been cleared to train with AC Milan. The American centerback could be back in action before the end of the month.

Those stories capped a stretch of good news on the injury front, with Steve Cherundolo and Ricardo Clark returning from minor injuries, and with Charlie Davies stating that he is targeting a late April return to action for FC Sochaux.

Here are some other stories to get your Friday going.

MOYES STILL HOLDS HOPING FOR DONOVAN EXTENSION

Everton manager David Moyes expects to send Landon Donovan back to the Los Angeles Galaxy after the Toffees' weekend match vs. Birmingham, but he hasn't lost hope of having Donovan play more games this season.

"The loan officially ends tomorrow and we'll send him back, but there's a chance the players there might strike," Moyes told The Times. "If that's the case then we're able to keep him. No problem."

Donovan can technically remain with Everton up until April 15, the close of the MLS transfer window, while still maintaining the ability to return to MLS. The MLS labor talks are on-going, but there have been rumblings of a potential strike around the scheduled start of the season, on March 25. If there is a strike, Donovan would be able to return to Everton since he will have not played for the Galaxy.

TIMBERS DOWN SOUNDERS

The Portland Timbers don't join Major League Soccer until 2011, but the club scored some bragging rights a year early by knocking off arch-rival Seattle Sounders, 1-0, in an exhibition match at Qwest Field on Thursday night.

A goal from Gabriel Obatola proved to be the difference as Timbers goalkeeper Steve Cronin put on a stellar performance against a Sounders squad that create chances but failed to finish, a problem that plagued the club in 2009.

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What do you think of Dempsey's quick recovery? Starting to feel good about the U.S. national team's health status? Still holding out hope that Donovan plays more games for Everton, or does MLS avoiding a strike take precedent?

Share your thoughts below.

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