Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey will attend family weddings this weekend and miss preparations for the U.S. national soccer team’s CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinal Sunday against Jamaica at RFK Stadium, the U.S. Soccer Federation said. Both are scheduled to travel Saturday night and play in the 3 p.m. match.
While the U.S. squad flew to Washington from Kansas City, Mo., on Wednesday, Donovan and Dempsey, the team’s most influential attacking players, were headed to California and Texas, respectively. Coach Bob Bradley granted their requests for time-off well before the tournament, USSF spokesman Michael Kammarman told the Insider.
Each player’s sister is getting married Saturday.
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“Family means a lot to them and it was important to attend,” Kammarman said.
Had the Americans finished third in Group C and, consequently, forced to play Mexico on Saturday at New Meadowlands Stadium in New Jersey, the players would’ve skipped the weddings, Kammarman said.
Dempsey is from a tight-knit family, a bond strengthened after another sister, Jennifer, died of a brain aneurysm in 1995. Donovan and his sister, Tristan, are twins.
The United States, which struggled in the group stage of the tournament and finished second behind Panama, will face undefeated Jamaica, the Group B winner, Sunday afternoon in Washington.
Both players participated in regeneration activities Wednesday in the Kansas City area, the day after a 1-0 victory over Guadeloupe in the group finale.
With a light workout scheduled for Thursday and Saturday’s session primarily dedicated to tactics and stadium acclimation, Donovan and Dempsey will miss only one intensive practice (Friday).
Both are scheduled to travel to Washington on Saturday evening. Though they are accustomed to traveling long distances for matches, their late arrival won’t afford them much time to rest and prepare. Had the United States won the group, it wouldn’t have played until 6 p.m. Sunday.