Clint Dempsey unlikely to start when Seattle Sounders take on New York Red Bulls

TUKWILA, Wash. — A nagging hamstring injury once again forced Clint Dempsey out of Seattle Sounders training on Friday and has all but ruled him out as a potential starter in Sunday's top-of-the-table clash with the New York Red Bulls (9 pm ET, ESPN).

Dempsey suffered the injury during training last week and did not travel with the team for their 1-1 draw against the LA Galaxy last Saturday. He was originally expected to work out for the first time this week on Friday.

"We kept him inside today, just one more day and he'll be out tomorrow," Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said. "He did more yesterday, felt better and is doing more today.

"I think there's still a possibility of him being in the 18. At this stage, starting probably not, but we have to see how he is."

Dempsey has played just 29 minutes in Seattle’s last four matches after missing two games while he was on international duty with the US national team.

Normal starting left back Leo Gonzalez was also held out of training Friday, meaning Marc Burch could be in line for his first start on defense since March 30. Burch has mostly been used as a left midfielder this year, starting there in seven of the Sounders' past 12 games and picking up three assists.

The Sounders will also be without the services of center back Zach Scott, who will be serving a one-game suspension after picking up a pair of yellow cards on Saturday.

The absences continue a year-long trend of the Sounders being unable to field a first-choice lineup. The club has used 27 different starting lineups in 28 matches this season.

"You just have to take it for what it is," Schmid said. "You'd like to get them all out there together and see what it would look like over an extended period of time. Hopefully that will happen before the playoffs."