The U.S. captain will start Sunday’s friendly against Turkey, manager Jurgen Klinsmann told reporters on Thursday. Dempsey was a late scratch for Tuesday’s bout vs. Azerbaijan in San Francisco with a groin injury, a lineup decision that U.S. Soccer officials and Klinsmann himself dubbed as precautionary.
Dempsey, who has eight goals and three assists in nine games with the Seattle Sounders this season, will see the field in Game 2 of the USA’s send-off series, barring a setback in training the next couple of days. According to the AP, Klinsmann said:
”A lot of work yesterday. We kind of made sure he’s not going sideways. That was kind of bothering him and worrying him a little bit. He’s all good. Today they have an easy [regeneration] day, travel day. So by tomorrow full speed in training. Everything is good.
”If something gets worse now the first 30 minutes or whatever [Tuesday vs. Azerbaijan], then you know what, there’s no reason why we should risk now anything. It was not really risk, but it was a lot of work they put in here the last 2 1/2 weeks, so we just decided there on the field, c’mon, it’s good (OK to sit him). But he’s ready to go.”
Chris Wondolowski earned the start in Dempsey’s place on Tuesday and put two headers on frame, but was unable to score. He started alongside Jozy Altidore in a 4-4-2, with the USA returning to a diamond midfield formation vs. the Azeri. Mix Diskerud and Aron Johannsson came off the bench to supply goals in the final 15 minutes of the 2-0 victory.