Jun 8, 2012, 7:58 AM EST
TAMPA, Fla. – The United States should be fine tonight against Antigua and Barbuda, a little bush among some very tall trees, with or without Clint Dempsey.
But there’s no doubt that what Dempsey brings, not only in terms of ability but in experience – this will be the Fulham man’s third qualifying cycle – will be needed going forward, starting next week at Guatemala.
Dempsey play 34 minutes in the loss to Brazil. He started and went the full 90 Sunday against Canada but never seemed to find the higher gears.
Here’s what Dempsey said late last night, following the U.S. practice, about his bid for full recovery:
I’m getting there. Feeling good, getting sharper, getting more fit. Getting more explosive. I’m feeling like I’m able to have that little bit of explosion now to get to roads that were shut off is there now. I wasn’t feeling that in the Brazil game [nine days ago], I was still trying to get there. At the end of the game, it was about trying to get that fitness back.
So, I feel like I’m getting over the hump a little bit and I’m looking forward to these next two games. Like I said earlier, just really putting that pressure on myself to perform. I have to be one of the guys who steps up in these games, to be able to chip into to these games, to score goals or to create chances. That’s my mindset right now.
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