The most notable event in Tuesday night’s exhibition soccer game between the United States men’s national team and Azerbaijan took place minutes before kickoff, when Clint Dempsey walked off the field.
Dempsey, the U.S. captain, sat out his team’s 2-0 victory due to a groin complaint.
Dempsey felt tightness in his groin during pregame warm-ups, and U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann removed the 31-year-old forward from the starting lineup as a precautionary measure.
Chris Wondolowski started in Dempsey’s place.
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Dempsey’s groin problem is not expected to keep him out of action for more than a few days.
“We don’t want to risk here anything,” Klismann said, as reported by the Associated Press. “It’s not serious at all.”
Dempsey said he should be available to play in the United States’ second 2014 FIFA World Cup warm-up game — against Turkey on Sunday in Harrison, N.J.
“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.”
The U.S. begins its 2014 World Cup campaign on June 16 against Ghana. It then faces Portugal (on June 22) and Germany (June 26) to round out group play.
Team USA is hoping to progress out of Group G, dubbed the “Group of Death.” The Americans are relying on Dempsey to be fit and firing as they seek to hit their primary target in Brazil.
Photo via Facebook/FIFA World Cup