Wednesday was always going to be a big day for German-American defender Timmy Chandler, the promising dual-passport holder whose U.S. Soccer tale got all pretzel twisted (not to mention occasionally exasperating) over the last two years.
He’s in. He’s out. He may be back in. He needs rest. Not really. But possibly … Who really knows?
The U.S. qualifier this week in Honduras was to be Chandler’s opportunity to bind himself to the United States soccer cause once and for all.
Now the moment is even bigger, like opportunity on steroids.
That’s due to Steve Cherundolo’s injury. With the longtime incumbent at right back injured, Chandler looks like the top choice to start along the outside in Wednesday’s match at Honduras.
What Klinsmann said Monday during a lunchtime national teleconference from Miami, where the team trained ahead of an evening departure into Honduras:
It is a huge opportunity for Timmy. I think it was simply just maturing, growing into his role as a full-time professional. Sometimes, maybe they are there at [age] 18 or 19, and sometimes it takes a couple of years longer. That’s why we have been and are, very patient with Timmy as he matures. For us as coaches, it’s the jobs to understand where player are … and then to help them get to the next level.”
Klinsmann said he hated to see Cherundolo injured and miss his chance at another final round qualifying cap. On the other hand, Klinsmann said he is “thrilled” that Chandler gets set up with such an opportunity.
“Of course, he still has a lot to to improve on, he still has a way to go, which is right,” Klinsmann said. “Because right now he is only 23 years of age.”