Dempsey returns for US
Clint Dempsey is expected to play his first game with the US in nine months when the national team plays a World Cup qualifying match Friday in Guatemala.
The 33-year-old Dempsey was left off the USA roster for two qualifying matches in November. Coach Jurgen Klinsmann cited the need to look at younger players.
"It's not really up to me," said Dempsey in reference to not playing last fall. "It is and it isn't. It is in that you have to keep working hard and playing. But it's up to the coaching staff to make the decisions, and I'm happy to be a part of these important games."
The Americans could use his scoring touch. Dempsey has 48 goals, while playing for the US, second in history behind the 57 scored by Landon Donovan. He's also the all-time leading scorer against Guatemala with five goals.
Dempsey last played for the team in July, when he led all Gold Cup scorers with seven goals in six games.
Jozy Altidore has been slowed by an injury, so Klinsmann could pair Dempsey with forward Bobby Wood, a 23-year-old Hawaiian and prolific scorer on his German team FC Union Berlin.
Dempsey also might be used in the midfield. Either way, Dempsey will add a dangerous dynamic to the offence. He's added 13 goals in World Cup qualifiers - tied with Donovan for the most in team history - and Altidore has 12.
The US is 13-0-1 against Guatemala in qualifying matches on its home soil. However, the match at Guatemala shapes up differently. USA has just one win and five ties in its past six matches there. The lone win in that span was a 1-0 victory in 2008.
The match Friday is the first
of home-and-away qualifiers. Guatemala will play the Americans on March 29 in Columbus, Ohio.