The roster for the US national team for a pair of upcoming friendlies against Colombia (Friday, 2:45 pm ET, ESPN) and Ireland contains at least one notable absence, as World Cup captain and Seattle Sounders star Clint Dempsey will not be making the trip as part of coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s squad.
Dempsey’s omission might seem strange to USMNT fans who have grown accustomed to seeing him regularly don the national team jersey, especially considering that Seattle teammate DeAndre Yedlin was included on the roster even with the 2014 MLS Playoffs, presented by AT&T, in full gear.
However, speaking with reporters after Seattle’s 0-0 draw against FC Dallas on Monday, Dempsey said his break from national team duty was a mutual agreement between him and Klinsmann and didn’t cite any health concerns or other outside factors.
“I wish [the team] the best,” Dempsey said. “I had a good conversation with Jurgen and I look forward to 2015.”
Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said that Dempsey’s absence from the squad could be attributed to the heavy workload the forward has undertaken in the past year, which included a two-month loan to Fulham and double-duty this year between the MLS season and World Cup.
“Clint’s had a long season,” Schmid said. “He’s been playing since January when he went to Fulham…For him it's been 11 months of games. He expressed that to Jurgen and Jurgen understood and didn’t include him.”
Fatigue concerns for Dempsey are nothing new for the Sounders, with Schmid periodically giving him games off to try and preserve his energy for the stretch run. Dempsey himself has admitted to feeling the demands of his hard-charging schedule, saying that he felt generally fatigued after he was held out of the starting lineup for Seattle’s 1-1 draw against the San Jose Earthquakes on Aug. 20.
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"I'm feeling tired," Dempsey said. "I've been going nonstop since December, really. So that's why I was rested, just trying to get my legs back under me and try to feel energized.”
Now, with Seattle now potentially three games from their first MLS Cup, the added responsibility and travel demands of the national team, with the games against Colombia and Ireland taking place in the British Isles, presented an opportunity for Klinsmann to give his captain a break. Yedlin, meanwhile, is expected to rejoin the Sounders for the first leg of their Western Conference Championship matchup on Nov. 23.