Seattle Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer says “high probability” Clint Dempsey starts in season opener

TUKWILA, Wash. — Seattle Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer said on Tuesday there is a “high probability” that Clint Dempsey will start on Saturday against the Houston Dynamo (5:30 p.m. PT | Matchcenter) in the regular-season opener.

Dempsey missed the final four months of the 2016 season while recovering from an irregular heartbeat, but he has since been cleared and played in all five of Seattle’s preseason matches. He started four games in the preseason, going 30, 45, 60 and 80 minutes, respectively, as he continues to improve his fitness.

“[I’m still trying to get [sharper] in the final third,” Dempsey said last Friday. “My fitness is getting better. I’m improving as each day goes by.”

Dempsey scored eight goals and added two assists in 17 matches last season, including five goals in his final three games.