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Clint Dempsey has sat out for the last three weeks, but he returned to Seattle Sounders training on Wednesday. Dempsey's season was put on pause due to a medical evaluation for an irregular heartbeat, and Sounders general manager Garth Lagerwey says Dempsey had a procedure to help with that. However, it's unclear when Dempsey will be able to play again.
"I will add that we are cautiously optimistic that he could return to play this season," Lagerwey said. "So, to be clear, he's been cleared to return to training, to exercise, but he has not been medically cleared to play yet. We don't have a timetable for that and we won't because we're going to prioritize his health. When Clint feels better and the doctors feel that it's safe, then we will consider his return to playing."
Dempsey has had a down year as the Sounders have struggled, but still has eight goals and was coming into form before he had to be sidelined due to his heart condition. Seattle is currently six points out of a playoff spot with two games in hand on the teams in 5-7 places. The USMNT has two upcoming friendlies in October, and returns to competitive action on Nov. 11.
Goal of the day
Cristiano Ronaldo actually scored a free kick! (r/soccer)
In the news
Legia Warsaw has apologized for fan violence during their game against Dortmund, but refused to admit that alleged racist chanting occurred. (BBC)
Ronald Koeman has warned Ross Barkley that he needs to raise his game. (Guardian)
Diego Simeone has reportedly negotiated a shortening of his Atlético Madrid contract. (ESPN FC)
Dani Alves could miss this weekend's derby against Inter after he picked up a knock. (Football Italia)
The 2018 UEFA Champions League final will be played in Kiev. (Mirror)
Many Premier League teams are going back on their commitment to provide better access for disabled fans. (Telegraph)
You should be reading
Chloe Beresford on Stefano Borgonovo's battle with ALS and his legacy. (Unusual Efforts)
Mathieu Wood on the Pozzo family turning Watford's fortunes around. (These Football Times)
Bryan Kay on what's gone wrong at Ronaldo's Fort Lauderdale Strikers. (Guardian)
What happened on Wednesday
The biggest surprise was Sporting Portugal giving Real Madrid a game, though Madrid came through in the end.
What to watch on Thursday (click for listings, all times ET)
UEFA Europa League: 24 games (from 11 a.m.) -- There was one early game. We recommend Sassuolo-Athletic at 1 p.m. and Nice-Schalke at 3 p.m.