Estádio Nacional Mané Garrincha

A Kick in the Holiday Season

The U.S. Women's National Team heads to Brasilia in December.

The MLS might take a break in the middle of the playoffs for the sake of international fútbol, but the U.S. Women’s National Team has a tough run in December, packing four games into eleven days for the 2014 Brasilia International Tournament.

That said, up in the Pacific Northwest fans are preparing for Sunday night’s showdown in Carson when Sounders FC will meet L.A. Galaxy in the first leg of their Western Conference Final match. Their last meeting was less than a month ago, with the Seattle club taking a 2-0 win and also the Supporters’ Shield, much to the delight of over fifty-seven thousand fans at CenturyLink Field.

Meanwhile, Don Ruiz offers the latest preview of Sunday’s big game:

The Seattle Sounders would be notably short of their best without forward Clint Dempsey and defender DeAndre Yedlin, just as the Los Angeles Galaxy wouldn’t look the same without goals-leader Robbie Keane.

Those realities led Major League Soccer to schedule a break between its conference semifinal and final rounds, going dark during a two-week window for international play.

For the USA, that window closed Tuesday with a 4-1 loss to Ireland in Dublin. The USA played without MLS stars Dempsey, Yedlin and New England midfielders Jermaine Jones and Lee Nguyen. Dempsey wasn’t called for either of the United States friendlies during the MLS break, while the others were released after the first match last week — a 2-1 loss to Colombia — so that they could spend this week in playoff preparations with their club teams. Ireland did the same with Keane.

“It’s good,” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said of Yedlin’s early return this week. “Obviously they have Robbie Keane back as well, so it’s the same for everybody. It’s good that (U.S. national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann) allowed those guys … to return after the game. That’s what we thought was going to happen, and that happened.”

While Clint Dempsey acknowledges feeling “pretty beat up, pretty tired” from all the running around, DeAndre Yedlin—who will play next season with Tottenham Hotspur—says he’s ready, citing the one asset he has over the veteran superstar: youth.

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