Clint Dempsey to national team, Cristian Roldan back to Sounders

Clint Demsey got called up for Gold Cup tournament duty with the U.S. Men’s National Team on Sunday, while midfielder Cristian Roldan will be returned to the Sounders ahead of Wednesday’s game at CenturyLink Field against D.C. United

The Sounders begin the unofficial “second half” of their season this week following a mid-term break, but will be doing it without star forward Clint Dempsey after he was called up Sunday by the U.S. Men’s National Team for Gold Cup quarterfinals duty.

On the positive front, midfielder Cristian Roldan has been sent back from his USMNT stint and will join the team ahead of Wednesday’s resumption of Major League Soccer regular season action against D.C. United. The Sounders manged to go 4-2-2 their previous eight matches ahead of the two-week Gold Cup break and remain perched right on the playoff red line between qualifiers and non-qualifiers.

Now, the task ahead for coach Brian Schmetzer and company is to build off that momentum despite again having to juggle players due to injury and national team absences. Losing Dempsey doesn’t help, as he’d been the team’s top offensive player of late with three goals his previous two games to earn MLS Player of the Week honors.

“I’d prefer to have kind of a solidified lineup that I could roll out every day,” Schmetzer said. “I would call it a challenge…it might be an opportunity for Aaron Kovar and some of those younger players that are chomping at the bit to play. I would say that’s opportunity. But as coaches, you would kind of like to have a solidified group.”

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That said, injuries to Osvaldo Alonso and Chad Marshall should give the Sounders opportunity to experiment with various player combinations they’ve pondered for some time. One obvious one, with the return of Roldan, could be to pair him with Gustav Svensson in the defensive midfield.

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