Turns out that Jurgen Klinsmann is a big ol' meanie who doesn't really care about MLS. Maybe that's a bit myopic, but that was my takeaway after the United States manager told reporters prior to the U.S. Open Cup final that he was likely calling in Dempsey as well as any other MLS players he deems "necessary" to advance whatever cause they may still have in a pair of meaningless World Cup qualifiers.
"It is absolutely no issue for us," Klinsmann said. "We see the busy schedule MLS is going through, but it makes no difference. This is World Cup qualifying. We want to end it on a very high note. We are going to call in the guys we believe in."
Klinsmann was also specifically asked about Dempsey, saying that he expects the U.S. captain to play against the Colorado Rapids on Saturday and then report to national team camp on Sunday.
I realize that I'm being very club over country right now, and that's not how I necessarily want to be, but I am really having a hard time with this one. The United States has qualified for the World Cup. The World Cup is about nine months away. Winning these next two games doesn't really accomplish anything, except for possibly improving the United States' FIFA ranking (which, by the way, is not necessarily the way the World Cup will be seeded). It will, however, rob the Sounders of several of their best players at a time when they could surely be of some particular use as the Sounders will be playing their two biggest rivals. And in Dempsey's specific case, he's also just now coming off an injury and seems to think that his constant shuttling around the world probably is what caused the injury in the first place.
You may also remember that Dempsey indicated after returning from the last round of qualifiers that it was his preference not to get called in for this round.
So, yeah, I think it's more than a tad unnecessary for Klinsmann to call up players of Dempsey's ilk. I should also say that it's not as if leaving Dempsey at home would leave the United States horribly undermanned. You may have noticed that Klinsmann has built himself a very deep squad.
Now, I should also mention that Dempsey might not actually stay away for both games. He is, after all, just one yellow card away from being suspended. It's also entirely possible that Klinsmann is under some pressure to field a legitimate "A" team for the home game in Kansas City against Jamaica. Maybe he plans to send Dempsey and others home before making the trip to Panama, which would at least give him the chance to suit up for the Sounders when they visit the Portland Timbers.
Until that actually happens, I'm reserving the right to be annoyed.