Dempsey returns from injury spell as halftime substitute

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Dempsey returns from injury spell as halftime substitute
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Dempsey returns from injury spell as halftime substitute

Clint Dempsey's return from a calf injury should prove to be quite timely for the U.S. national team.

With a pair of World Cup qualifiers in the coming days, the American star made his return after almost a month on the sidelines, playing the final 45 minutes of Tottenham's 1-0 loss to his former club, Fulham, at White Hart Lane on Sunday.

Dempsey figured into what could have been an 89th-minute equalizer, playing Gareth Bale out wide, where he crossed to a streaking Jermain Defoe in the box. The English striker was denied by a top-class Mark Schwarzer save, though, preserving the result.

Dempsey also picked up a yellow card in his time on the field but emerged unscathed, which sets him up to be a part of the CONCACAF hexagonal matches against Costa Rica and Mexico on March 22 and 26, respectively. In a Twitter Q&A with U.S. Soccer, U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann had previously confirmed that his star attacker would be good to go for the two crucial matches.

Dempsey had not played since being a second-half substitute in Tottenham's UEFA Europa League round of 32 battle with Lyon on Feb. 21, a 1-1 draw that cemented Tottenham's place in the next round on a 3-2 aggregate. Spurs managed to overcome Inter Milan without Dempsey's services, advancing to the quarterfinals where they will play FC Basel.

Sunday's match provided a slight glimpse into this coming Friday's USA-Costa Rica battle, with Dempsey sharing the field with Fulham and Los Ticos' attacker Bryan Ruiz.

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