According to MLSSoccer.com, the shoe-in at right-back for the United States Men’s National Team has suffered yet another setback. Steve Cherundolo has been the talk of many of the American supporters, as it has been a year since he has been fully fit, and according to the report, has undergone a minor knee surgery after aggravating it yet again with his club Hanover.
Cherundolo is now bound to be on the sidelines for the upcoming CONCACAF World Cup Qualifiers, and with that said, Jurgen Klinsmann will need to make a decision on who will start in his place for the matches against the side’s biggest rivals, Costa Rica and Mexico.
Without a sure-fire back-up, Klinsmann will have a few options on who to insert into the starting line-up come early September.
Look for Geoff Cameron to be the favorite. Thanks to the impressive play of Matt Besler and Omar Gonzalez, Cameron missed out on an opportunity to start in the middle of the USMNT’s back line. With the veteran back out, Cameron could make the move to outside back and serve as a capable right-back until Cherundolo recovers.
Cameron has experience at right-back, starting for his club Stoke City in that position in their opening match against Liverpool.
Brad Evans is the one of two wild cards on this list. Naturally a midfielder, Klinsmann has shown Evans extensive time at outside back recently, and the 28-year old midfielder turned defender has done nothing but impress. Evans managed to notch a late game-winning goal from the back in the June 7 match-up with Jamaica that proved crucial to the States’ current three-game winning streak in the final stage of qualifying.
The other wild card on this list is Nurnberg’s Timothy Chandler. Chandler is certainly qualified enough to play the role of replacement, but his relationship with the national team is rocky at best. Over time, he has failed to show the commitment that Klinsmann would like to see, but Chandler could still be considered purely on need.
Based on Klinsmann’s decision to leave him off the 23-man list for the friendly against Bosnia and Herzegovina, it seems unlikely that Chandler will be favored for the job, but if this decision was based purely on ability, he would likely be the favorite.
Clearly, the USMNT boss is not at a shortage of options. The question is whether or not any of the options are of high enough quality to continue the recent success that the squad has seen. Regardless, Klinsmann may be searching for a long-term replacement for Cherundolo with the 2014 World Cup rapidly approaching and the question mark of his right-back’s health.