World Cup: USMNT's Clint Dempsey, Omar Gonzalez dismiss injury concerns ahead of Turkey clash
Dempsey was announced as a starter alongside Jozy Altidore against Azerbaijan at Candlestick Park on Tuesday, but was replaced in the lineup by Chris Wondolowski after a groin issue kept the US captain out of what was eventually a 2-0 victory.
And although he spent much of the game in the locker room receiving treatment, Dempsey said during a press conference in Times Square on Friday that his groin would not affect him against Turkey on Sunday at Red Bull Arena (2 pm ET; ESPN2, Univision, UniMas).
“In terms of my update, I really didn’t have an injury – just tightness in my groin and I felt it didn’t make much sense to push it in that game [vs. Azerbaijan],” Dempsey said. “I was able to participate in full training today and it felt good and I look forward to the game on Sunday."
On a team with precious few fitness concerns, Omar Gonzalez joins Dempsey as the only other player faced with injury inquiries.
Gonzalez injured his left knee while with the LA Galaxy on May 3, leaving a match against the Colorado Rapids at halftime, but said that knock was behind him despite beginning US camp with training limitations.
"My knee has been 100 percent for a couple of weeks now and I'm ready to go," said Gonzalez, who came on at halftime for Geoff Cameron on Tuesday.
As for the black wrap visible on and above his knee against Azerbaijan (pictured above right), Gonzalez dismissed any fears that it was an indication of lingering issues.
"It's just kinesio tape. It's just a little extra support,” he said. “That's all it is. I had some on my neck as well. I had a little tweak with my neck. But just because I have tape on it doesn't mean it's bad."