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Jurgen Klinsmann promises to play hard ball on international dates

Clint Dempsey will likely miss Sounders' third game of the season, possibly more.

Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

Jurgen Klinsmann has made well known his displeasure with MLS regularly playing through international breaks. On several occasions, though, he has acquiesced and not called in key players for certain friendlies. That apparently won't be the case for the upcoming matches On March 25 and March 31.

"You can pull your best team. Now going forward for the rest of the year, I have that freedom to pull the best players and call them and really start to get things fine tuned because we want to win the Gold Cup.

"You know, get them games together and fine tune things and get your hierarchy together. That's what all the other nations in the world always do. When the national team meets, it's only the best of the best that come in. It's not the extended portion of their program. So that's really the positive side now looking forward and having the best guys coming into Denmark and into Switzerland."

MLSsoccer.com

While this isn't quite as big a deal as it has been in previous years, it still means the Seattle Sounders are likely to be missing Clint Dempsey for their road match against FC Dallas on March 28. There is an off chance that Dempsey is only used for the March 25 match in Denmark, which could keep him from missing any games. If Dempsey plays in the March 31 match against Switzerland, though, it might put his availability in jeopardy for the Sounders' home match against the Houston Dynamo on April 4. Dempsey will have, after all, flown across the world twice and played as many as 180 minutes in the span of about a week.

It's tempting to blame Klinsmann in all of this. These are friendlies and he could choose to leave MLS based players off the roster. But this international date is hardly a surprise and MLS has boldly ignored international dates for years. At some point the league must figure out a way to break during international dates, especially as more and more international-quality talents are signed. The choice, it would seem, is to play with diminished squads a few times a year or schedule more midweek games. For MLS to realize its goal of becoming one of the world's top leagues, making sure its top players are available is an absolute must.