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U.S. MEN'S NATIONAL TEAM

October 9, 2009
THE BIG DECISION
Will Holden or Feilhaber replace Dempsey?


Stuart Holden is a candidate to replace Clint Dempsey at right midfield.
Stuart Holden is a candidate to replace Clint Dempsey at right midfield.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras -- So, who does U.S. national coach Bob Bradley use to replace ailing midfielder Clint Dempsey for the Americans' key World Cup qualifier against Honduras on Saturday night?

Dempsey suffered a shoulder sprain in the 84th minute of Fulham’s 2-2 tie at West Ham in an English Premier League game Sunday.

Bradley said his top two options on the right side of the midfielder were the Houston Dynamo's Stuart Holden and Benny Feilhaber.

He wasn't going to announce his decision to the media until the lineups are announced an hour before the game. But he did talk about both players in Wednesday's conference call.

“Stuart and Benny both have had good stretches now for our National Team," Bradley said.

Feilhaber has more international experience, probably best known for scoring the game-winning goal in the 2-1 victory over Mexico in the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup final.

"Benny was a key contributor for us in Confederations Cup," Bradley said. "He has settled in well in Denmark. He has played different spots in the midfield for us, has shown that versatility. He is a player who, I think, is comfortable on the ball, is capable of making the right pass, the final pass."

Holden has come on strong this year with a strong performance in the CONCACAF Gold Cup. He also has come off the bench as an offensive spark in recent qualifiers.

"Stuart can play different spots in the midfield," Bradley said. "For us he has been more on the right. He’s come on in some of the recent games and even in the small amount of time that he’s been on, he’s been able to create opportunities with some of his play on the right hand side. Again, I think we’re lucky to have both of those options.”
   
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