Clint Dempsey

SEATTLE – When Clint Dempsey suits up for the US national team next week, it will be his first game action in more than two weeks.

The Seattle Sounders star has been out of the lineup due to a two-game suspension that forced him to miss last week’s win over the Montreal Impact and will keep him out of Saturday’s game against the Columbus Crew (10 pm ET; MLS Free Stream of the Week).

In the meantime, Dempsey has been trying to help his teammates in any way he can.

“That’s a difficult one, because there’s not much you can do when you’re not out there,” Dempsey said on Thursday. “You just work in training and try to make it difficult for them. When they’re working on the starting XI and the movements, you try to play your role, imitate the opposition in terms of the formation and how they play and get more of a look on how to prepare. That’s all you can really do.”

Dempsey, who was speaking to the media for the first time since the suspension was made official, also expressed some frustration with the decision.

“Disappointed,” he said flatly. “I don’t agree with it. It is what it is and move on.”

While Dempsey insisted his immediate focus was on helping his teammates prepare for the Crew, he was also clearly looking forward to getting some game action against Mexico (April 2, 11 pm ET, ESPN/UniMas), especially in light of the full-throated defense offered by US manager Jurgen Klinsmann. Last week, Klinsmann expressed concern that Dempsey was getting fouled too often in MLS play. 

“It’s always good to know that the manager has your back,” Dempsey said. “All I can do is keep working hard, keep working on my fitness after training and make sure that I play well when with I’m with the national team – like I’ve always done in the past – and make sure I keep playing well with the national team moving forward and pay him back for his faith in me.”