If there were any doubts that Clint Dempsey’s scratch from Tuesday’s starting lineup was anything but a precaution, Jurgen Klinsmann did all he could to assuage those fears on Thursday. Speaking to media at national team camp in Palo Alto, Calif., the U.S. men’s national team head coach said his captain would “definitely” start Sunday against Turkey at Red Bull Arena.
Dempsey was originally scheduled to start Tuesday’s match against Azerbaijan before a groin injury suffered in pre-match warmups led to his exclusion. On Wednesday, Dempsey trained but avoided activity that could re-aggravate the injury. By Friday, however, the U.S. captain is expected to resume full training.
From reporting by ESPNFC.com:
Klinsmann says Dempsey did “a lot of work” on Wednesday but the forward refrained from any sideways cuts or runs during the training to avoid re-aggravating the groin. Dempsey felt no ill effects in moving straight ahead.
Given that the team is scheduled to fly to New York later on Thursday, Klinsmann is convinced that Dempsey will be able to play on Sunday.
“He’s all good. Today they have an easy regeneration day, a travel day; by [Friday], full speed in training,” he said.
So breathe easy, U.S. men’s national team fans, though given how this story has developed, it’s unlikely many supporters were holding their breaths about an injury that never seemed serious. Dempsey’s status for Brazil has never been in doubt.
Perhaps a more interesting question will be who starts along side “Deuce” in New Jersey. Jozy Altidore is the first choice number nine and Dempsey’s seemingly designated partner, but if Klinsmann wants to make changes from the team that started in San Francisco, AZ Alkmaar striker Aron Johannsson, the second scorer in Tuesday’s 2-0 win, could partner Dempsey up top, with Altidore and Chris Wondolowski having gotten the call against Azerbaijan.
Sixteen teams remain in the battle to clinch the Premier League’s first European place of next season’s tournament, and we have some tremendous battles on tap for Tuesday and Wednesday in the EFL Cup (formerly the League Cup).
Today we focus on the 24 hours ahead of us, focusing on Tuesday’s five matches and allowing the Manchester Derby, West Ham-Chelsea, and Southampton-Sunderland to percolate a bit.
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That’s not to say we don’t have a pair of giants dueling on Tuesday. Liverpool is three wins away from a return to the final, where the Reds fell in penalties last season. Standing in their way is Tottenham Hotspur, a deep squad which won’t have to worry much about a quick turnaround from Saturday.
That said, the Reds didn’t have to play at all last week, while this will be Spurs third match in a week. Spurs have been to the EFL Cup final thrice since 2008, and one of two teams (Chelsea) to make three finals this decade. Liverpool will start Simon Mignolet between the sticks.
The remaining four EFL Cup matches include at least one team outside the Premier League.
— Arsenal will host USMNT midfielder Danny Williams and Reading.
— Hull City is off to Ashton Gate to face Bristol City.
— Newcastle United is leading the Championship, and will get a visit from Preston North End in the first of two matches between the two sides this week.
— Norwich City will pay a visit to Elland Road and Garry Monk‘s Leeds United.
FC Dallas has two jewels of its triple crown all set, having claimed the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and the Supporters’ Shield.
One of the key reasons the club was able to sustain its pace this season was Mauro Diaz, 25, who shone even as Fabian Castillo shockingly left the club before the stretch run.
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A River Plate product, Diaz gave FCD seven goals and 15 assists over 32 appearances before tearing an achilles tendon last week.
Diaz underwent season-ending surgery, but his teammates made sure he was a part of the champagne celebration by heading to his very nice-looking house for an early morning visit.
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There was some eye-popping moments in the Premier League this weekend, yet still very little debate who shone brightest.
Stoke City’s Xherdan Shaqiri scored a pair of Goal of the Month competitors in the same day in the Potters’ 2-0 win at Hull City on Monday.
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The first was a curling wonder from distance, while the second came from a bit closer as the big-calfed Swiss attacker bamboozled the Hull wall and goalkeeper.
The Potters are up to 16th in the Premier League table with nine points.
HELSINKI (AP) Fans of IFK Mariehamn have gathered in the main square of the remote Finnish town to celebrate their team’s surprise league title.
“I feel very proud,” the club’s managing director, Peter Mattsson, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview on Monday, adding that “thousands” were expected to turn up for the party.
Watched by more than 4,000, Mariehamn clinched the Finnish title on Sunday with a 2-1 home victory over Ilves, from the industrial city of Tampere.
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Mariehamn held off 11 other teams, including the traditionally strong Helsinki club, HJK, and defending champion SJK from western Finland. It ended three points clear of second-placed HJK for its first league title.
Local media dubbed the team “Leicester” after the surprise English Premier League champions last season.
Mariehamn, which has a population of 11,500, is the capital of the Aland islands off the southwestern Finnish coast