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Clint Dempsey won't play in March World Cup Qualifiers

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Bruce Arena says he wants Dempsey to focus on Sounders, getting healthy.

Dempsey and Agbossoumonde at First Practice Max Aquino

As Bruce Arena plans for World Cup Qualifying, he will be without Clint Dempsey. During the pregame of the friendly between the United States and Serbia, ESPN’s Taylor Twellman said Arena told him he will not call the Seattle Sounders forward/midfielder into the USMNT.

"Clint Dempsey was cleared to train with the Seattle Sounders over the past couple days,” Twellman said. “I asked Bruce Arena 'Will Clint Dempsey be a part of those March Qualifiers?' He said absolutely not, he needs to take his health first and foremost. Get games under his belt with Seattle, they will address it in the Summer. But for those March qualifiers there will be no Clint Dempsey."

In March, the USA plays against Honduras (in San Jose on March 24) and at Panama (March 28, site TBA). The Sounders start with road matches against Houston and Montreal. They then play two at home against Red Bulls and Atlanta to end the month.

Dempsey is practicing in full and did the beep test on Thursday. Brian Schmetzer and the Sounders are clear that he’s checking every box, but that he needs to develop match fitness after a layoff that started in August of 2016.