Clint Dempsey’s loan with Fulham of the English Premier League is set to end after Saturday’s game against league-leading Chelsea, but he will have one more stop before returning to the Sounders.
Dempsey has been called up by U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann for a Wednesday friendly against Ukraine, a game to be played in Cyprus due to Ukraine’s political turmoil.
Seattle, in fact, will be the only MLS team affected ahead of opening weekend as only two players from the league were named in Klinsmann’s 24-man roster, which consists mainly of players based in Europe. Michael Bradley was the other domestic call-up, but Toronto FC has a Week 1 bye.
Dempsey is expected to be available for the Sounders in their March 8 opener against Sporting Kansas City, though most likely off the bench.
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Coach Sigi Schmid told reporters in Charleston, S.C., on Thursday that Dempsey’s role will be affected by his minutes the next two games.
“He’s due back in the U.S. on Thursday, but that’s a full day’s worth of flying from Cyprus to get back,” Schmid said.
“We’ve got to see how he feels, because the one thing that we don’t want to do is overload him and get him injured, because we’ve got a lot of games.”
Klinsmann, when asked why Dempsey and Bradley were called up, told the federation website the duo was part of the spine of the USMNT, “so for us it’s very important to see both back in the team and putting their stamp on the game.”
• The Sounders announced Thursday the start time of a July 19 friendly against Tottenham of the English Premier League, Dempsey’s former team, will be 1 p.m.
ESPN2 will carry the broadcast.
Tickets go on sale March 24 but can be purchased earlier as part of a six-game package starting March 8.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184
On Twitter @joshuamayers