The New England Revolution will be without two returning U.S. national team members on Wednesday night when they play host to the Los Angeles Galaxy at Gillette Stadium.
"[Clint] Dempsey's fit, [Pat] Noonan is doubtful and [Steve] Ralston's out," said Revolution head coach Steve Nicol.
Noonan rolled his ankle in the USA's 2-0 victory against Honduras last Thursday. He ruled himself out of the Galaxy match after Tuesday's training session.
"I won't play tomorrow," said Noonan. "We'll play it day by day. Hopefully, I'll be ready for the All-Star Game."
Ralston suffered a concussion while away on national team duty, missing potential starting berths in the semifinal and final of the Gold Cup.
"I don't want anything to affect me long-term," said Ralston. "If I miss one game, hopefully I'll be able to get better."
Dempsey will return to the starting lineup, possibly partnering Taylor Twellman on the front line. Khano Smith and Connally Edozien have struggled to fill the vacuum created by Noonan's absence. Dempsey played forward for the U.S. at different points during the Gold Cup.
"Clint's fit and ready to play," said Nicol. "He's had lots of traveling and games. When it gets tough, you rely on the heart to get you through, and he has plenty of that."
Nicol will cope without captain Joe Franchino after he was suspended for two matches for a challenge on Hector Cuadros in the 87th minute of Friday's 1-0 loss to Chivas USA.
Late Tuesday, the MLS Disciplinary Committee ruled the combative defender would be suspended and fined $500. Franchino, with the support of the MLS Players Union, has appealed the decision and MLS Commissioner Don Garber is expected to hear the appeal Wednesday afternoon before the Galaxy match.
After a disappointing performance against Chivas USA, Nicol reinforced the need for his side to pass the ball in order to find success.
"We need to pass the ball," said Nicol. "If we do that, we'll give anyone a run for our money. If we don't, any number of teams will give us problems."
With the All-Star break on the horizon, Nicol looks for his side to enter the rest period on a high.
"We want to enter the midseason break in the same way we opened the season," added Nicol.
Kyle McCarthy is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.