A day that appeared to be earmarked for final 23 roster predictions, starting XI debates and overall excited buzzing from match starved US fans was thrown for a loop as the already scarce Timmy Chandler gave an ominous snub to the latest Soccer House overture for his services.
Jurgen Klinsmann’s statement on the situation all but confirmed that Chandler will not be seen in red, white & blue any time soon, if ever again:
“I have had long conversations with Timmy about where he is in his professional career and his commitment to playing international football. He has expressed his appreciation for all the opportunities we have given him, but he also feels at this point he needs to take a break. It’s disappointing not having him as a part of the team at this important juncture of building our team, but ultimately a player must decide what is best for him. The door is certainly not closed on Timmy, but in the moment we move on without him.”
Not exactly a “don’t worry, guys, we’ll get him” sentiment.
Adding fuel to the fire was USMNT & Nuremberg alum Tony Sanneh on Twitter, suggesting that German manager Jogi Lowe was on his way to the club to speak to Chandler about a potential future with the Germans. Soon after the tweet was deleted.
So where does this leave the USMNT on the eve of several high profile friendlies with the first rounds of World Cup Qualifying following quickly behind? Not in as dire a situation as you’d think. While the apparent loss of Chandler is a significant blow to the depth pool, it certainly isn’t the end of the world.
Steve Cherundolo still has yet to show any signs that he’s passed the point of being a first choice international class right back for the USMNT; even with Chandler nipping at his heels.
Eric Lichaj & Fabian Johnson have both served admirably and, dare we say it, better than Chandler at times in feature roles at left back over the past 12 months. Johnson shares Chandler’s Total Football like versatility while Lichaj has fully seized an opportunity at Aston Villa to cement himself as an EPL quality starting left back.
Point being – if Chandler does end up choosing Die Mannschaft in the end, wing play from the defense will not be hurting for lack of depth or quality options. A pity if true, but not the end of the world by any strech.
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (4): Carlos Bocanegra (Rangers), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover), Alfredo Morales (Hertha Berlin)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Michael Bradley (Chievo Verona), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Maurice Edu (Rangers), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Jose Torres (Pachuca), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim)
FORWARDS (1): Clint Dempsey (Fulham)
Brief thoughts on the rest of the roster:
– While this constitutes only a bit more than half the 29 camp players Klinsmann plans on calling, Herculez Gomez is again conspicuous by his absence. While there’s a chance a Sunday phone call from US Soccer could be in the offing for the star crossed forward, one can’t help but feel Herc just doesn’t figure into Jurgen’s plans as other Primera based Yanks such as Joe Corona & Paco Torres have already received their invitations today. Another sad chapter in the post 2010 world of Herculez Gomez.
– Onyewu & Altidore are also missing, however for more benign reasons: Gooch has the Portugese Cup Final coming up this week while Jozy is in actual need of a breather having played well over twice as many games this year compared to any other previous season of his career thus far.
– It’s good to see Nick Rimando rewarded with a significant roster call up. With Howard/Friedel/Keller/etc… being clear cut favorites the last 15 years, it hasn’t been easy for him to feature prominently for his country. A spectacular match away to Panama during the annual January camp reinforced Klinsmann’s confidence in the MLS veteran.
– I’m looking forward to finally seeing Alfredo Morales on the pitch as an actual person rather than just a name on Yanks Abroad match reports. Lose one German-American, gain another…
That’s all for now. Stick with us throughout the week as we bring you more opinion, analysis & coverage of USMNT camp as the Yanks move ever closer to the unofficial start of Brasil 2014.