Ukraine vs. United States, Friendly: Clint Dempsey plays 90 minutes in loss

Andrew Caballero-Reynolds

Seattle Sounders Designated Player will almost certainly not be able to start in season opener.

Clint Dempsey's time in Europe is finally over, for now. It ended basically how it began: with a thud. Dempsey played 90 minutes in the United States' 2-0 loss to Ukraine. The match had been moved to Cyprus and was nearly cancelled because of the ongoing unrest in Ukraine.

Dempsey was far from the United States' worst player and he helped generate a couple scoring chances, but his first half was particularly poor, as were most of his teammates'. On the defensive side, Dempsey often looked disinterested and he struggled to keep possession on the other end.

He did get off to a much better start in the second half, at one point nearly getting on the end of a nice throughball that the Ukraine goalkeeper ultimately got to first. Dempsey also had a look at an open header, but hit it wide.

Around the 75-minute mark, Jurgen Klinsmann started making substitutes. It would have been a nice time to get Dempsey off the field, a fact noted by Sounders Sporting Director Chris Henderson:

Instead, Dempsey remained on the pitch. By the end, he was clearly frustrated and probably could have been red carded after lashing out at a Ukraine player following a rough tackle.

The good news is that Dempsey should be on the next plane to Seattle and might even return in time to get in a training session or two ahead of Saturday's opener against Sporting Kansas City. Although a start seems hopelessly out of the question given his recent work load -- he also played 90 minutes for Fulham against Chelsea over the weekend -- he could at least be in the 18 for the Sounders.

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