May 27, 2014, 10:26 PM EDT
Clint Dempsey was meant to be captaining the U.S. national team against Azerbaijan in San Francisco on Tuesday night.
Instead, he watched the match from the sidelines after injuring himself in the warm up.
Dempsey, 31, was said to be suffering from a “soreness in the groin” according to the U.S. soccer Twitter feed and was scratched just minutes before kick off at Candlestick Park.
Chris Wondolowski replaced Dempsey in the lineup as Jurgen Klinsmann’s plan to play Dempsey just off Jozy Altidore ahead of diamond midfield took a hit. With Dempsey floating around the No. 10 spot and supporting Alitdore, it would have knitted the midfield and attack together seamlessly. However with Wondo in the lineup there were two traditional forwards stuck up top together against Azerbaijan.
Dempsey’s injury does not sound serious and it is likely he will be fit for the World Cup. However if he is not fit to participate in Brazil, Klinsmann has a huge decision to make.
The only other player that could potentially play as a withdrawn forward, at wide midfield or up top to a similar level is… you guessed it, Landon Donovan.
With the USMNT veteran left off the final World Cup squad, it remains to be seen if Klinsmann will turn to the man he snubbed publicly to help the USA out in their time of need.
Klinsmann had previously stated that Donovan was the 24th man and would be the first player called up if the team suffered an injury but according to discussions with ESPN’s analysts, Klinsmann may have changed his mind and is now stating that Donovan would only be called up in the right situation and for the right type of player.
This will be very interesting.
Here is the Tweet from U.S. soccer, as the start of their sendoff series didn’t exactly start in the fashion they would’ve wanted.
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