Michael Bradley will be the U.S. captain for the CONCACAF Gold Cup rather than Clint Dempsey.
Dempsey took over as the American captain from Carlos Bocanegra two years ago. He was suspended for three games by Major League Soccer for a confrontation with a referee June 16 in Seattle's fourth-round loss to Portland in the U.S. Open Cup, when he grabbed a notebook from the official and tore it after a teammate was given a red card. He also was suspended for six U.S. Open Cup matches.
"For the time being we thought it's the best thing to give the captaincy to Michael Bradley and let Clint focus on what he's all about," U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann said in comments posted Wednesday on the U.S. Soccer Federation's website.
"Clint is about scoring goals. We need Clint Dempsey badly with the national team. We need him in a good spirit. What happened was a mistake, but it was the first red card in his career and a lot of people went at him. I think the best thing for everyone right now is to let him concentrate really on playing and doing what he does best."
The Americans play Guatemala in an exhibition on Friday at Nashville, Tennessee, and open the defense of their Gold Cup title against Honduras on Tuesday, at Frisco, Texas — when Bradley could make his 100th international appearance. If the Americans win the Gold Cup, they would earn a berth in the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia. If another nation wins the Gold Cup, it would play the U.S. in a playoff for the Confederations Cup berth.
"We need Clint in a free spirit," Klinsmann said, "and that's why we decided to kind of take that captaincy and move it over to Michael for the Gold Cup and then we'll see."
Defender Greg Garza was added to the Americans' 23-man Gold Cup roster in place of Brad Davis, who injured a knee.
The U.S. Soccer Federation also said forward Jordan Morris, who was on the 35-man preliminary Gold Cup roster, has a stress fracture in a leg. Morris posted a photo on Instagram of himself prior to surgery. He is expected to be ready to play for the fall season at Stanford, where he will be a junior.
"Jordan Morris was a guy on our radar for the final knockout stage," Klinsmann said. "He would have come in already training with the team for the first portion, but with the injury that he got we felt that it was safer to deal with it right now immediately, so he's going to be out for four to six weeks.
"It's a bummer for him, because he's done extremely well over the last year. He's one of our most promising talents coming through the ranks, but those setbacks happen and maybe we see him toward the end of the tournament joining the group just for the fun of it. It's just sad for him because he was in very good shape."