"He'll play a role for us," Schmid said on Thursday, along with some other stuff about everyone's expectations being out of control. "I have to talk to him, he lands today and we've gone back and forth on text a little bit. I want to see how he feels after the flight, how many minutes he can play. We'll just have to go from there."
It's hard to see Dempsey playing a very significant role, though. He's already played about 180 minutes over the past week and it seems highly unlikely that Schmid is going to take a big risk by pushing him too hard this weekend.
Then again, Obafemi Martins famously hopped off a intercontinental flight and was sharp enough to turn in a solid 30 or so minutes the next day. Dempsey will have a full 24 more hours of acclimating before he's asked to suit up.
But even if we assume Dempsey can play as much as 30 minutes against Sporting KC, is that a good idea? That's a question the Sounders are surely more fit to answer than I am, but I just can't imagine he is.
The threat of Dempsey playing, though, that makes a lot of sense. No, Dempsey has not been playing particularly well over the past six months or so, but he's still a player that needs to be accounted for by opposing coaches. Dempsey standing over a free kick is still a lot scarier than just about anyone else in MLS. Dempsey charging at back pedaling defenders is still a handful. The possibility of Dempsey coming on as a late sub is still a threat Schmid could use in his arsenal.
There's virtually no chance that we get the 90-minute version of Clint Dempsey on Saturday. But it would still do everyone a bit of good for him to hear 40,000 fans going crazy when he's introduced. Maybe that will be what brings him back.