ANDREW VORCE - Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Fulham midfielder Clint Dempsey will miss out on Saturday's World Cup Qualifier against Honduras due to a shoulder sprain.
The US sits in first place in qualification in the tight hexagonal finals, and face third place Honduras, who are three points behind, on Saturday night in San Pedro Sula. Dempsey is the Americans' second leading goalscorer in qualification with five goals to his name.
Bob Bradley has opted to not replace the midfielder on the roster, and his progress will be monitored throughout the week to see if he will be fit for Tuesday's home test against Costa Rica in Washington D.C.
The absence of the Texan comes as a huge blow to a US squad that has become dependent on his recent hot spell. Trailing only Landon Donovan in goals scored this year, his absence means Honduras will instantly become a bigger threat to take all the points, especially on home soil.
Bradley's decision not to replace the midfielder could mean that the head coach believes he could make a return for the Costa Rica game Wednesday in Washington DC. The first replacement for Dempsey would likely be Stuart Holden, who burst onto the national team scene in the Gold Cup. Jose Francisco Torres could also be in line for added minutes in the pressure cooker that is the Olympic Stadium in San Pedro Sula.
Who do you think should play in Dempsey's absence? Is it a blessing in disguise, given Dempsey's recent mediocre play with the national team, and Bradley's reluctance to try new things when his hand is not forced?