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Clint Dempsey stripped of USMNT captaincy

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Toronto FC's Michael Bradley will replace Clint Dempsey as Captain of the United States during the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup, as well as the friendly against Guatemala on Friday night.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It was just two weeks ago when Clint Dempsey tore a referee's notebook to shreds near the end of a losing effort in the US Open Cup. Since then the MVP candidate and star forward for Seattle Sounders FC was suspended three matches in MLS play, six games or two years of Open Cup play and now he's lost the captain's armband with the United States, per Fox Sports.

The new captain of the USA is Michael Bradley. That should not be a surprise -- Bradley is a leader, a coach's son and young enough to be a likely starter at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Jurgen Klinsmann wants Dempsey to focus on his game, nothing else.

For the time being we thought it's the best thing to give the captaincy to Michael Bradley and let Clint focus on what he's all about. Clint is about scoring goals. We need Clint Dempsey badly with the National Team. We need him in a good spirit.

So against Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, and Panama Clint Dempsey will not be Captain America. The goal is that by removing the burden of responsibility Clint can be more like Hulk, channeling his fury into the scoring of goals.

Hopefully in this summer's Gold Cup he becomes the top scorer in the tournament. We need Clint in a free spirit and that's why we decided to kind of take that captaincy and move it over to Michael for the Gold Cup and then we'll see.

"And then we'll see" could mean a lot more for the active US Men's National Team player that has more public recognition than any other.

A couple of minutes at Starfire changed Seattle's chances at points and Clint Dempsey's role representing his nation. Now, ideally, with a clearer head he's a man of goals and no weight of leadership.