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Captain Clint Dempsey's exclusion from USMNT a matter of extra rest

SEATTLE — In a bit of a surprise decision, U.S. men's national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann left captain Clint Dempsey off the latest roster for friendlies against Colombia and Ireland in Europe. The exclusion resulted from a conversation between Klinsmann and Dempsey’s club coach, Sigi Schmid.

“I was aware of it," Schmid said after the Seattle Sounders’ 0-0 draw against FC Dallas on Monday. "Jurgen and I had spoken. Clint’s had a long season. Clint’s been playing since January, when he went to Fulham [on loan]. For him, it’s been 11 months of games, so I expressed that to Jurgen. Jurgen understood, and so he didn’t include him.”

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The game Friday against Colombia would have had added meaning for Dempsey, as it is taking place at Craven Cottage, where Dempsey starred for Fulham after his first foray in MLS. He helped the club to the Europa League final in 2010 and became the all-time leading American goal scorer in the Premier league there.

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Dempsey spoke tersely about his exclusion from the U.S. squad after the match, alluding to a conversation he had with Klinsmann upon hearing the news from the coach.

“I wish them the best,” Dempsey said. “I had a good conversation with Jurgen, and I look forward to 2015.”

​Schmid said Seattle midfielder Brad Evans was also on the preliminary list for the U.S. squad, but Klinsmann opted to take only 21-year-old defender DeAndre Yedlin from the Sounders. He could rejoin Seattle after the first match against Colombia in London on Friday, Schmid said.

The MLS Western Conference final kicks off after the international break, with the first leg on Nov. 23 in Los Angeles before the second match a week later at CenturyLink Field. The U.S. plays again Nov. 18 against the Republic of Ireland, whose roster includes Galaxy forward Robbie Keane.