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ANDREW VORCE - Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Fulham midfielder Clint Dempsey will miss out on Saturday's World Cup Qualifier against Honduras due to a shoulder sprain.

The US sits in first place in qualification in the tight hexagonal finals, and face third place Honduras, who are three points behind, on Saturday night in San Pedro Sula. Dempsey is the Americans' second leading goalscorer in qualification with five goals to his name.

Bob Bradley has opted to not replace the midfielder on the roster, and his progress will be monitored throughout the week to see if he will be fit for Tuesday's home test against Costa Rica in Washington D.C.

The absence of the Texan comes as a huge blow to a US squad that has become dependent on his recent hot spell. Trailing only Landon Donovan in goals scored this year, his absence means Honduras will instantly become a bigger threat to take all the points, especially on home soil.

Bradley's decision not to replace the midfielder could mean that the head coach believes he could make a return for the Costa Rica game Wednesday in Washington DC. The first replacement for Dempsey would likely be Stuart Holden, who burst onto the national team scene in the Gold Cup. Jose Francisco Torres could also be in line for added minutes in the pressure cooker that is the Olympic Stadium in San Pedro Sula.

Who do you think should play in Dempsey's absence? Is it a blessing in disguise, given Dempsey's recent mediocre play with the national team, and Bradley's reluctance to try new things when his hand is not forced?
Friday October 9, 2009 12:44 pm
I agree with many of the comments posted, particularly duriseti's analysis.

Clint has made good contributions in numerous matches, and yet he also does go missing and in walkabout mode for large periods of the matches where he has been onfield. He, like many others, needs to concentrate and focus on making his presence count and felt. Making a difference in whatever positive ways possible is what wins matches, and ultimately determines who the great teams, and players are. Every bit of individual and team effort counts, and can help make the crucial difference at any given moment of any given match.

Every challenge presents opportunities, and while the possibility of Clint's potential contributions will be missed, Stuart Holden and Benny Feilhaber have earned and deserve more playing time. This is a good opportunity for them, and any one else capable of making the all important crucial differences that make team success possible.

The idea of giving Jeffrey the chance for some senior team experience is not off the mark, and should not be lost either.

Thursday October 8, 2009 5:38 am
I was glad that Clint was going to be out for this match. He plays better when BB moves his lazy arse to forward and puts somebody in on the right who can actually deliver a ball to the forwards.

He also gives the ball away too easily trying dumb skill moves in traffic that he last completed successfully back with the Nacogdoches Golden Dragons. This creates counter opportunities that kill us.

I think this is a blessing to make it a no brainer for BB to finally give Stu Holden a start. He has been refreshing on the right for the 12 minutes that BB has been giving him with the A team.

I agree that Mikey B has been lackluster in recent MNT games but he's the kind of player we need in the middle against Honduras to try to win balls and link to the more offensive mids. He also has a knack for finding loose balls on set pieces and knicking a goal (which just could get us through).

Line up:
Spector Gooch 'Los Cherundolo
Holden Bradley Feilhaber Donovan
Jozy ChuckD
Wednesday October 7, 2009 2:13 pm

I do agree that Clint does disappear for long stretches during the game. But he also has a tendency of getting too flashy with the ball at the most inappropriate times.
Wednesday October 7, 2009 12:12 pm
I like Holden on the right side for Dempsey. He plays with a lot of heart and is impressive at times. We will miss Dempsey toward the end of the match where he seems to magically reappear but the rest of the match I can never find him, anyway.
Wednesday October 7, 2009 11:57 am
Trix: That doesn't seem IS insane.
Wednesday October 7, 2009 11:26 am
Honduras will come in waves and numbers. They will feed off of turnovers to bring numbers. They are fast and athletic. Dempsey was never a good match-up in this game. We will need people with a high work rate and low turnover rate on the field. That sounds like Torres, Feilhaber, and Holden. M.B. is finally getting more playing time at 'Gladbach, but I have no idea how his form has improved. I do know it was quite poor for the last 2 games.
Wednesday October 7, 2009 10:49 am
I hate for players to get hurt but this seems like the only way Bradley was going to give someone else a deserved chance out wide for Dempsey. As others alluded to, I consider Dempsey the laziest player of this generation but he sometimes finds himself in the right spot for goals so he's difficult to evaluate him overall. Dempsey was the worst player in the Confederations Cup but scored a few goals. I always thought he'd be a perfect substitute late when we need a goal, that would keep his attention and attitude in check being on the field less.

I'm hoping Holden gets a shot, he has a tremendous work rate and can do much more going forward than most of his competition. He also gives the ball away much less than Dempsey which will be key. I don't want to see some 4-5-1 formation looking for a tie, we need a win and no yellow cards!
Wednesday October 7, 2009 10:05 am
This is a blessing indeed! We desperately need a radical approach to Saturday's game, something that the Houndurans will not expect. Holden or Torres take Dempsey's place and Feilhaber plus a d-mid in the middle. That gives us 5 attack-minded players who can all handle the ball (with our young strike force up top).

Dempsey is not playing out of position, he plays wide for Fulham and doesn't disappear in those games because if he does he gets the bench. Maybe a good result with his replacement on the field will light a fire under him.
Wednesday October 7, 2009 6:04 am
Well I'm afraid that we'll play too defensively, i.e. play a 4-4-1-1, again like we tried to play away at the Azteca two months ago. I really would like to see us use our wide midfielders more as crossers to a pair of Strikers with a trailing attacking center midfielder, and only play one dmf sort of like a sweeper in front of the back for. But if it's a twin dmf 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1, then we'll likely be depending too much on our wingbacks to carry and cross the ball and I'm just not sure that's such a good idea. If Dempsey's out, I'd swing Landon to the right flank and play Paco Torres on the left... I hope Feilhaber sees the field as well, that midfield would be able to hold and move the ball both short and long.

While I love Frankie Hejduks work rate and heart, he's getting pretty old now and his crossing never really was all that stellar, if we expect him to carry and cross, especially from the left side...well I'm just not too thrilled by that. I think that our defense shouldn't be expected to carry the attack, certainly not Bornstein... I guess I just have some real doubts, and this game not being on TV won't make them any easier to get out of my mind.
I guess this is the time for some other player, Holden, Torres or Feilhaber to step up and show us what they've got. Maybe we can just manage to pinch a point in Honduras.
Wednesday October 7, 2009 4:20 am
I know this seems insane but bring on Jeffrey from the U-20 team. I see more potential in him then in the other mid fielders people want in place off Dempsey.
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