Ailing Clint Dempsey's Seattle Sounders debut may have to wait depending on his health
TUKWILA, Wash. — In following the theme of the Seattle Sounders' season, Clint Dempsey missed his first scheduled full training day after apparently picking up a virus.
Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid blamed the whirlwind schedule for the ailment, but suggested there was still a decent chance that his newest Designated Player would make his playing debut against Toronto FC on Saturday (7 pm ET, watch on MLS Live).
"We'll see how he feels tomorrow and where his recovery is," Schmid told reporters at Tuesday's training session. "We're still a long way away from Saturday. We'll see how he feels at the end of the day. The likelihood of him going 90 minutes on Saturday is very small. Whether that's starting and coming off or coming on as a sub, we'll have to see."
Over the past few weeks, Dempsey's travel schedule has taken him across the Atlantic Ocean twice and back and forth between London and Hong Kong (a total distance of about 22,000 miles). By his own recollection, the US national team captain hasn't been in one place for more than four days during that time as he went from preseason training with Tottenham Hotspur to signing a new deal with the Sounders.
Dempsey acknowledged that he still feels as though he's in preseason form, but that he did manage to play about 105 minutes in two preseason games with Tottenham before leaving the team. The last competitive match he played in was the USMNT's World Cup qualifier against Honduras in Salt Lake City on June 18.
"I'm going to have to work in training," he said during his introductory press conference. "I've only had the opportunity to do one training session here, but look forward to getting in with the guys and work on things and see where it is. You don't know where you are until you play in games. No matter how much you want to run, nothing can really replicate what it's like to play a game and play at a high level for 90 minutes."