It sure looks like the Seattle Sounders will have to face FC Dallas without Clint Dempsey. At least that's the most literal reading of Jurgen Klinsmann's recent comments regarding the kind of team he intends to call in for the United States' upcoming friendlies against Denmark (March 25) and Switzerland (March 31).
"We are going to bring in a very strong roster into Denmark and Switzerland. It's a bit tricky obviously because MLS has just started and it's early in the season, so those players don't have a rhythm yet. Meanwhile, the European-based players are in a full rhythm and the Mexican-based players are in a full rhythm, so we will bring what we believe will be the strongest roster into these two friendlies. It will be an interesting mix. We are there to learn, to play against very good opponents, but also to get results."
Considering Dempsey continues to be one of Klinsmann's starting forward whenever the full team is called in, it seems a safe bet that he'll be included for these games. That's hardly ideal from the Sounders' perspective, but at least he should be able to get back in time for the April 4 match against the Houston Dynamo.
Still, that would be of little solace to Dempsey's friends and family from Nacodoches, Texas, who are apparently being offered discounted tickets for the game.
If there's a silver lining in all of this, it's that FC Dallas is likely to be without their leading scorer as well. Blas Perez is expected to be called into Panama's team for their upcoming friendlies against Trinidad & Tobago (March 27) and Costa Rica (March 31).
Assuming Dempsey is out, that opens up several possibilities. The most obvious would probably be to use Chad Barrett at forward, allowing for minimal changes elsewhere. Barrett scored three goals in seven starts at forward in 2014 and the Sounders went 2-0-1 and scored eight goals in the three matches he started alongside Obafemi Martins.