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?
Tuesday October 6, 2009 9:58 pm
Dempsey does disapear, but I blame that more on Bradley playing him out of position, and you can see it in his body language, he is getting pissed at how he is getting played.

I would like to see Holden start, and take out Bradley and put in Fielhaber. If there is someone who hasn't been playing well lately for the national team it is him, and I say bench him only based on his current form, not because he is the coachs son.
Tuesday October 6, 2009 6:06 pm
I'll second the comment about Dempsey's tendency to disappear for long stretches only to score when you're not expecting it. The further problem/blessing is that he consistently plays this way, and that makes him probably the only US player that consistently scores.

I'd like to see Feilhaber come in, and I wouldn't even mind benching Altidore and bringing Torres on in his place, bumping Donovan up top with Davies.
Tuesday October 6, 2009 9:59 am
Losing Demp is both a blessing and a curse. He goes through the motions for much of every match, but he also seems to show up at the right place at the right time at least once per match.

Bradley should start Torres in his place for additional ball-handling skills (plus Torres also likely more acclimated to the style of play) and keep Holden in his role of "super-sub." The other option is to start Feilhaber and employ a box midfield instead of a the traditional diamond approach. Using Feilhaber and Donovan up top would provide additional support and service to the likely forward tandem of Davies and Jozy.
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