Clint Dempsey‘s name was, perhaps controversially, left off Jurgen Klinsmann’s very first roster of the U.S. national team’s 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign — much to the surprise of many, including Landon Donovan.
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While some supporters of the USMNT aren’t ready for a world in which Dempsey isn’t a key player for USMNT, the opposite emotions have been invoked in the hearts of Tuesday night’s opponent, Trinidad and Tobago. T&T head coach Stephen Hart admitted on Monday that he was “overjoyed” by Dempsey’s absence.
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Hart’s admission seems to imply that he would have believe T&T to have no (or a lesser) chance of beating the USMNT on Tuesday if Dempsey was on the field. Now, with his omission, Hart, and presumably the rest of the Toca Warriors, envision themselves pulling off a famous upset in Port of Spain.
Dempsey (48 goals) is the USMNT’s second-leading scorer of all time (Donovan – 57). If Klinsmann has decided that Dempsey’s international career is coming to an end — it remains to be seen whether or not that is the case, as well as whether or not it would be the “right” or “wrong” decision — then now, 32 months before the World Cup, is the time to begin the process of cutting Dempsey out of the squad, not two weeks before the tournament, as he did with Donovan in 2014.