Sunday, January 17, 2010

Dempsey: One of Those Injuries That Matter

I mentioned this a month or so ago ... that one of the difficult tasks for anyone who pretends to be up to date on the fortunes of the 32 teams headed for South Africa 2010 is to have a grasp on injuries.

And when it's not your national team, or one in your region, you may not notice when a guy goes down with something, and you go around thinking John Smith will be facing your team in group play when he's actually still in a cast.

Well, one of those apparently serious injuries happened to a U.S. player today.

The player? Clint Dempsey of Premier League side Fulham, injured in a 2-0 defeat at Blackburn today.

His coach believes Dempsey suffered a torn posterior cruciate ligament. And if he is correct, Dempsey may be out of the World Cup, which begins on June 11 -- and on June 12 for the United States, in a match vs. England.

Dempsey is only, oh, the second-best attacking player on the U.S. team. He plays on the wing and has moments of true inspiration around the net.

He has been enjoying his best season, at Fulham, and would have been counted on for long minutes and even a goal or two at South Africa -- where he scored three goals in the Confederations Cup last June, including strikes against Brazil and Spain that helped the Americans finish a surprise second.

If Dempsey is out, the U.S. is seriously compromised because it does not have much depth of talent, particularly among players who can actually score. There is the First XI, which actually has about six First XI quality players ... and now one of them is injured, perhaps badly.

Just put it in the back of your mind: One of the best U.S. players is down and maybe out of the World Cup. A day ago, they seemed like a potential dark horse candidate to get into maybe the final eight. Not so much so, now.
Read more!