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Clint Dempsey likely starting in USMNT's meaningless third-place game

There will likely be no added rest for the already heavily used Clint Dempsey.

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Just in case you thought the Seattle Sounders may have caught a bit of a break when the United States was embarrassed at the hands of Jamaica in the Gold Cup, go ahead and put that thought behind you. U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann has pledged to use "same core" in the absolutely meaningless third-place game against Panama -- a team who has been spending their training time playing kickball -- likely meaning Clint Dempsey will get his fifth start of the tournament.

Dempsey has already been one of the most heavily used USMNT players at the Gold Cup, having logged 404 minutes plus 72 more in the friendly against Guatemala that directly preceded the tournament. Only Michael Bradley -- who has played a rather indefensible 540 minutes over the same period -- has played more minutes among outfield players.

Assuming he plays against Panama, Dempsey will have played seven matches in July, while his Sounders teammates will have only played four. Effectively, Dempsey has made up for any rest he may have gotten while serving his three-game suspension.

Hey, but at least he has a great chance of winning the Gold Cup's golden boot and bringing home that third-place medal... and the United States has never won one of those!

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