Clint Dempsey was held out of the the World Cup friendly in San Francisco against Azerbaijan Tuesday with a tight groin, but the Sounders forward and U.S. team captain said it was precautionary and not serious.
During warmups at Candlestick Park, Dempsey alerted the coaches and was benched. The U.S. won 2-0 in a lackluster performance against a team ranked 85th in the world by FIFA. Chris Wondolowski of the San Jose Earthquakes replaced Dempsey in the starting lineup.
“I am just a little tight, just being precautionary, just being smart,” Dempsey told Yahoo Sports. “[My groin] felt tight and I didn’t think it made sense to push it in this game. I’ll be ready for the next game. It’s all good.”
Mix Diskerud and Aron Johannsson ,both substitutes, scored in the 75th and 81st minutes, respectively, to avert embarrassment before a crowd of 24,688. The U.S.’s numerous missed opportunities suggests the need is strong for Dempsey.
USMNT has two more games in the Send-off Series before heading to Brazil: Against Turkey at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. June 1 and Nigeria in Jacksonville, FL., June 7.