U.S. Soccer released its 23-man roster for the 2015 Gold Cup on Tuesday, as well as an interview with head coach Jurgen Klinsmann.
In the footage, Klinsmann discusses the task ahead of the States in the tournament, but also speaks for about a minute on Clint Dempsey’s three-game suspension after a tantrum for Seattle in Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup play last week.
Klinsmann has backed Dempsey in past suspensions, calling a 2014 ban “disappointing” in that Dempsey was the only one punished for a fracas with Toronto FC. Dempsey hit TFC’s Mark Bloom with a low blow.
But the U.S. coach stopped short of unbridled support in the wake of Dempsey’s tearing up of a referee’s notebook and subsequent post-red card furor.
“The situation with Clint Dempsey obviously is something that I saw basically on the Internet. I was in Europe still after our games against Holland and Germany. It’s something that nobody wants to see. It’s a mistake. And mistakes happen.
“Obviously when he comes in next week to Nashville in preparation for our friendly game with Guatemala, we will have a coffee, we will sit down and talk through that and go from there.
“It’s part of the game as well, even if it’s something that nobody wants to go through. Nobody wants to get red carded and nobody wants to get suspended and be in discussion by the fans and by the media for a mistake you make. But also on the other hand, it’s part of the game, too.
“We’ll take a little bit of a back step and we’ll discuss it in person in a relaxed way and go from there.”
Klinsmann isn’t too bothered by Dempsey’s antics, and I’d imagine there will be a couple laughs shared during that coffee date. That said, the coach knows he can’t publicly condone a “heat of the moment” move for one of his stars, whether he understand it or not.
We do have to wonder how even-keeled Klinsmann would be if the suspension was another game or two, and cost his team in preparation for the Gold Cup.