Apr 18, 2012, 8:15 AM EDT
Mark down Steve Cherundolo as one of the most underappreciated men ever to pull on the U.S. national team shirt.
The man’s international career has stretched 13 years now; that fact alone would top most resumes.
He’s held down “mainstay” chops at right back since 2004, providing a steady and calming defensive presence during the three World Cup qualifying turns. (Cherundolo was a main spoke in the wheel of qualifying for World Cup 2002, although subsequent injuries limited his time internationally over a couple of years.)
His time at Hannover in Germany has also stretched 13 years. So highly respected there, he’s long been a team captain and has humbly acquiesced to the nickname Mayor of Hannover.
Now it seems that Cherundolo, 33, will play a main role in attempting to help guide his country into yet another World Cup. That would be No. 4 – a truly remarkable and unduplicated achievement. (Landon Donovan had a sparing role in the 2002 run-up, but not an essential one.)
There will be calls for Tim Chandler or some other youngster to displace Cherundolo along the way to Brazil 2014. Maybe it will be Eric Lichaj. And perhaps at some point, Jurgen Klinsmann will adjudge that blooding Chandler or Lichaj or someone else along the right will best serve the long-term goals.
Personally, I expect Cherundolo to hold down the position through most of qualifying with the same shrewd defensive positioning gleaned from all those Bundesliga seasons, to provide a steady and dependable offensive push up the right and to supply the 3-5 well-shaped crosses a match.
Plus, when Landon Donovan is stationed along the right, the pair’s chemistry, understanding and ability to combine is as robust as any other pair in the U.S. shirt.
While you consider how a smaller guy playing in the less-glamorous position of right back really has contributed so mightily to the U.S. cause through the years, read a little about his life in Hannover in a piece just produced by U.S. Soccer.
- Huge cost of World Cups: Did we need a protest like Brazil’s to point out the obvious? 2
- Early returns from England’s offseason tell a tale of two Manchesters 0
- This André Villas-Boas to Paris Saint-Germain link makes more sense by the day 0
- Three good questions for Clint Dempsey – Part III: Shunning complacency, and his second season at Tottenham Hotspur 2
- Three good questions for Clint Dempsey – Part II: London calling 1
- Criticism, negativity may leave Seattle with few rewards for their hosting efforts (20)
- What we learned from Tuesday’s U.S. win over Panama (19)
- Which U.S. men have locked up World Cup roster spots? (16)
- Three huge positives to take from USA’s convincing win over Panama (15)
- Broadcast of U.S. v. Panama was second highest audience for World Cup Qualifier (14)
- Bruins stymie Blackhawks, take Game 3
- Survival and heartbreak at US Open
- PHT: Hossa day to day with upper-body injury
- Protesters back in streets of Brazilian cities
- Posnanski: More Open heartbreak for Mickelson
- Radio hosts fired for mocking ex-NFL player with ALS
- PBT: Unheralded Green could steal NBA Finals MVP
- Play Video: Police clash with protesters in Brazil
- Play Video: Highlights: Sounders win in final minutes
- Play Video: Highlights: Revolution dismantle Galaxy
- Play Video: What does New York FC have to do to succeed?
- Play Video: The Hype: Bending the screen like Beckham
- Play Video: Galaxy's Rogers talks about coming out to the public