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

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.


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.


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.


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.


  1. Before he got injured, he was pairing with Zamora up front. He did play as a winger, but he did move up and Duff moved to the wings

  2. Strange that I’m now in the position of half-hoping for a players’ strike so that LD can stay abroad. Guess it’s just been so long that I’ve wanted him to excel overseas.

  3. The story was unfortunately true, but the hatred of Timbers (and Whitecaps fans) is part of a running rivalry, that makes soccer in the NW popular and interesting. For God’s sake, they burned the Space Needle in effigy in the parking lot!!!!

    (SBI-It’s all well and good Zack, and I respect the rivalry. I just don’t think we need to turn the comments section into a virtual word-brawl and name-calling contest. Let’s try keeping it civil on SBI, that’s all I ask.)

  4. That’s still very little management effort to improve a giant problem since he arrives late in the season, and from what I’ve read, he sought out the Sounders.

  5. “I think they, management, lost their nerve. And surprisingly they did very little in the off season to correct the problem. Fan support, and attendance may once again dominate the news.”

    We signed Swiss striker Blaise Nkufo.

  6. “… Sounders squad that create chances but failed to finish, a problem that plagued the club in 2009…”

    Absolutely correct. The Sounder’s inability to score at home became a major issue for the club. After their first 6 games, the team quickly morphed into a very conservative expansion side, something management claimed they wouldn’t be. I think they, management, lost their nerve. And surprisingly they did very little in the off season to correct the problem. Fan support, and attendance may once again dominate the news.

  7. He plays as a winger for Fulham. For the US he is normally a winger, but he played as a striker late in some Confederations Cup games after substitutions. And those were great performances.

  8. Interesting… “A broken tendon in his knee” — sounds like he’s got the same injury as Gooch. Maybe not a complete rupture, if there’s any doubt about his having surgery. I’m not convinced Leonardo saw enough good from Gooch to trust him while Milan are still in contention for the Serie A title. Gooch looked awfully shaky every time he came in, before settling down. If he can avoid those rough starts, maybe he’ll be useful to Milan. Too bad Beckham isn’t coming back to LA now — he’ll have a chance to scout Gooch.

  9. I don’t believe the teams ever announced the terms of the loan deal, but it surely involved more than just Everton paying his wage. There was a bidding process with other teams interested. While it was only a 10-week loan, I’d bet it cost Everton at least $1M to get him…and Donovan would get a cut of that. I think 25% is pretty standard these days.

  10. Ideally, he plays as a winger both for club and country. But he has a good eye for goal and has also done well as a striker in both contexts.

  11. Good news, we need our strongest players

    U.S. national team striker/ Fulham striker Clint Dempsey…

    Hope he will play up front for the US. He’s always refered to as a striker except by BB?

    I’m also a bit confused over why Milan has just cleared Gooch to train after he’s been training with the US for a month.

  12. Also kind of related to the American injury news is the report that Nesta might be out for the season which would give Gooch a good shot at some playing time when he comes back. Things are looking up!

  13. It is great to see these guys coming back so quickly. Modern medicine is an incredible thing. Kudos to medical/rehab staff!

  14. Other than the publicity of one of it’s own doing well in Europe, what does MLS get out of the deal? I assume they get paid something.

    Does Everton provide some type of insurance policy to compensate MLS is LD were injured?

  15. I second that question.

    Is that a side agreement between Everton and him ?

    IF so, is it always/sometimes/never the same as the loaning team agreement ?

    If not, do the Galaxy recieve the money and pass it on to him ?

  16. It’s no secret that the team has been on a roller coaster this cycle. We can only hope that we are just starting to hit another high point. Sounds cheesy, but this pattern is hard to ignore.

  17. Ives or whomever can answer:

    Sorry if this has been addressed already ,but how are Landon and the Galaxy compensated by Everton? I know it’s a “loan”, but what does that mean in terms onf money?

  18. Europa league patch looks good on the Fulham kit. Pretty cool to see Dempsey get some run vs the likes of Roma and Juve.

  19. I’m pretty impressed how quickly these guys have recovered. Too bad Jones couldn’t do the same…it’d have been nice to have him as an option. Still hope?

  20. what’s the deal with having him go back and hang out until there’s a strike? Why not let him stay at Everton for a few more weeks?

    I guess there’s the training aspect with his Galaxy team mates, but its not like he’s a new guy on the team…

  21. Seattle had the preseason match in HD, on free TV. although they also cut in and out of the game for commercials and season recap and preview features


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