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Clint Dempsey returns to training, expected to play vs. Real Salt Lake

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

As expected, Clint Dempsey was back in Seattle Sounders training on Wednesday after being excused from the last couple training sessions. Assuming there are no set-backs, Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid has said he expects Dempsey to play in Friday's top-of-the-table clash with Real Salt Lake.

Dempsey has effectively been playing nonstop since going on loan to Fulham last winter. After making seven appearances for Fulham, Dempsey joined the Sounders shortly before the start of the regular season. During the summer while most of the league was taking a break during the World Cup, Dempsey was playing matches for the United States national team in Brazil. All told, he has logged about 2,400 minutes for club and country over the past nine months, or the rough equivalent of a MLS season.

Somewhat unsurprisingly, Dempsey admitted to be being tired after coming off the bench against the San Jose Earthquakes on Aug. 20. Although he has managed to register two goals and two assists in the subsequent three games, the Sounders wanted to make sure to get him some rest to prepare for the stretch run. With a nine-day break between league games, now was that time.