Seattle Sounders star forward Clint Dempsey has been ruled out for the remainder of the 2016 MLS season due to an irregular heartbeat, the club announced on Tuesday.
Dempsey, 33, had been dealing with the issue since August. He returned to practice on Sep. 14 after undergoing a medical procedure for his condition, at which point GM Garth Lagerwey said he was “cautiously optimistic” about Dempsey returning this season.
The Sounders said the news Tuesday could impact Dempsey’s availability for the U.S. national team’s upcoming World Cup qualifying matches in November.
Dempsey is the USMNT’s second all-time leading goalscorer behind Landon Donovan and ranks third all-time in goals scored for the Sounders with 27. It will take a group effort for the Sounders to make the MLS Cup Playoffs without Dempsey, who has scored eight goals and added two assists this season.
Seattle currently sits one spot below a playoff spot in the Western Conference.