While we are still awaiting official word regarding Clint Dempsey's injury suffered while playing in a match for Fulham in the Premier League (early word is that it's "cruciate knee ligament damage"), SB Nation's Daily Soccer Fix takes a look at how the U.S. Men's National Team can cope with Dempsey's loss if he is forced to miss the World Cup.
Shifting Landon Donovan to the right is an option, but then that weakens the team as a whole, so maybe not the best idea. Steve Davis at Daily Soccer Fix offers his suggestion: Stuart Holden.
For me, this is the option that makes the most sense, and one that actually presents a chance for minimal dropoff. Holden could become to 2010 what DaMarcus Beasley was to 2002: a young, relatively unknown (around the world, that is) winger who causes trouble with his pace and hustle. If you watched Holden at all last year with the Dynamo, you know that guy works his little dri-fit socks off. He's always chasing back to help holding midfielder Ricardo Clark.
I've said before that I think Holden's best spot is out wide. The Dynamo plays him inside because that's where he best fits the club. Fair enough. But if he catches on somewhere in England this winter - and I see that as a big possibility - I do believe it will be as a wide midfielder.
There's also DeMarcus Beasley, Robbie Rogers, Sacha Kljestan and Jose Francisco Torres. But Holden should still be the number one choice as Dempsey's replacement, if needed.
In my mind, Holden is the best hope. He's got something. He may be as close as this team can come to replacing Dempsey with a dynamic, confident presence, one capable of seizing initiative through bold action. Technical proficiency isn't a problem. Heart and effort aren't a problem. His mad moment against Everton at last year's MLS All-Star game may raise some red flags, but in the absence of further evidence that he can't stomach the big stage, we can call that one a one-off accident for now.