Clint Dempsey's loan allows him to play for Fulham on March 1

Clive Rose

This isn't particularly shocking, but it's just another confirmation that the soonest Dempsey will rejoin the Sounders is a day or so before the season opener.

Clint Dempsey's loan to Fulham apparently runs a day longer than we had all initially believed it would. As first reported by Joshua Mayers, Dempsey will be available for Fulham's March 1 match against Chelsea.

The Sounders confirmed to me that this was not a new bit of information, but rather more of a revelation by omission. The wording on the loan announcement had been that it was for two months, leading most of us to assume that it ran out at 11:59 p.m. on Feb. 28. The Sounders have apparently always been under the impression that Fulham could choose keep Dempsey for one more day.

The reality, though, is that this doesn't make a whole mess of difference. Recent rumblings about possibly recallingDempsey early aside, the Sounders have been pretty steadfast in the belief that their highest-paid player and presumed centerpiece for the offense would effectively miss the entire offseason.

Even if Dempsey weren't available for the March 1 match, the team has given virtually zero indication that he would join the Sounders before the United States' friendly against Ukraine on March 5. As long as that was the case, the earliest Dempsey was expected to join the Sounders was probably March 7, one day before the season opener against Sporting Kansas City.

In other words, I wouldn't hold out much hope that Dempsey is among the starters on First Kick. The positive, I suppose, is that he'll have worked off all the rust by that time and hopefully be prepared for a long season.

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