U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann is optimistic that Clint Dempsey, ruled out of the national team's two upcoming World Cup qualifying matches because of an irregular heartbeat, won't be sidelined for long.
The Seattle Sounders announced last week that the United States' active scoring leader -- the 33-year-old Dempsey has 52 goals in 130 career appearances -- would be held out as he undergoes medical evaluations.
Dempsey missed the Sounders' 4-2 loss to the Portland Timbers on Sunday. He was also left off Klinsmann's 26-man roster for Friday's qualifier at St. Vincent and the Grenadines and four days later in Jacksonville, Florida against Trinidad and Tobago.
"He has a lot of specialists looking at him," Klinsmann said on Monday during a live Facebook chat. "So we all are very positive that things work out fine and he's going to be cleared -- hopefully very, very soon -- to play again."
Dempsey will be missed. With three goals, the Texan led the U.S. in scoring as the Americans finished fourth at June's Copa America Centenario.
"Would we need him down in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and against Trinidad and Tobago in the second game? Absolutely," Klinsmann said.
"But he's not available, and we [want to] make sure he's going to be fine in the long run. Our thoughts are with him."
The silver lining for the U.S. is that forwards Jozy Altidore and Bobby Wood arrived in camp in Jacksonville in top form. Altidore, 26, has five goals in eight MLS games for Toronto FC since returning from the hamstring injury that kept him out of the Copa.
And on Saturday, the 23-year-old Wood found the net in his debut for Bundesliga side Hamburg. Seattle's Jordan Morris, San Jose Earthquake Chris Wondolowski and Dutch-based youngster Rubio Rubin, 20, who plays for Utrecht, round out the striker corps.
"We have a lot of attacking options for these two games," Klinsmann said, adding that Dempsey, who is just five goals shy of Landon Donovan's U.S. record of 57, won't be far from his teammates' thoughts over the next 10 days.
"The whole team is always thinking of him and most of them are sending him text messages or calling him personally. He has all our support. In a case like that, it's definitely more important to look after your health."