SEATTLE — Sounders FC’s hopeful return of Clint Dempsey this weekend could soon be followed by another goodbye.
U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann told reporters Tuesday that he expects the Seattle star will join national-team training camp in Kansas City ahead of World Cup qualifiers Oct. 11 versus Jamaica and Oct. 15 at Panama.
Dempsey has missed the last two MLS games with a hamstring injury and had been considered day to day heading into Saturday’s road game at Colorado. Klinsmann explained he heard otherwise after being in contact with Sounders coach Sigi Schmid.
“They expect him back on the weekend,” Klinsmann said in Utah before the U.S. Open Cup final, “and therefore we expect him back in camp on Sunday.”
U.S. Soccer is tentatively scheduled to release its roster Thursday for the upcoming qualifiers, according to The Washington Post.
The USMNT has already qualified for next summer’s World Cup in Brazil, leaving many to think the Sounders might avoid more international call-ups, an issue that has affected the roster all year.
Dempsey, who is also the national-team captain, would be expected to miss Seattle’s rivalry games Oct. 9 versus Vancouver and Oct. 13 at Portland if called up.
He had said after Tuesday’s practice that he was unsure if he would be joining the U.S., noting his focus was on getting healthy.
Schmid added of a potential call-up: “Everything has gone well right now in terms of (Dempsey’s) training. All we’re worried about right now is that.”
The Sounders could be forgiven for the frustration of losing a star player, and maybe more, with the Supporters’ Shield and playoff seeding on the line in the stretch run.
Eddie Johnson and Brad Evans, other regulars for the U.S. in qualifying, might also be called up, though no mention was made of that Tuesday.
Schmid was asked last month if he thought the call-ups might be over after the U.S. clinched its World Cup berth with a win over Mexico.
“There is an MLS season going on and teams are competing for playoff spots and so forth,” he said. “I think Jurgen is a smart-enough coach; he’ll understand that and take that into consideration.”
It appears Klinsmann had different thoughts, and he responded to that issue Tuesday: “I see the MLS schedule, but it makes no difference to us. (These are) World Cup qualifiers. We will call up who we need to.”
Dempsey indicated in September, after returning from the previous round of qualifying, that he was hoping he would be staying with the Sounders through the rest of the MLS season.
“I don’t know what the situation is, but I know that we’ve qualified,” he said. “For me personally, I want to be here as much as possible and try to help this team.”
--Forward Obafemi Martins has received a cortisone shot to help him manage a groin injury he has been playing through. Defender Djimi Traore tweaked his hamstring in Sunday’s game against New York and didn’t practice Tuesday.