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Chandler out injured, what options do USMNT have?

May 7, 2013, 10:15 AM EDT

US Timmy Chandler controls the ball duri

So bad news for US national team fans this morning: right back Timothy Chandler’s Bundesliga season is over.

The FC Nuremberg defender tore a knee ligament in training and is expected to be out for up to a month, according to this release from the official league site a few hours ago.

Chandler’s injury could be a huge blow for USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, as he prepares for three crucial World Cup qualifiers next month.

The 23-year-old has impressed for the US but is sure to miss the friendlies against Belgium and Germany in three weeks time. Those game lead up to three vital CONCACAF qualifiers, as the Hex is more competitive than ever this year.

First up is a tough trip to Jamaica on June 7, then a home game against Panama on June 11 followed by another home tie versus Honduras on June 18. Chandler could miss all those crucial games, or he may return early. Fingers crossed. But either way he will be lacking match fitness.

Worse case scenario, who does Klisnmann have as a possible replacement for Chandler?

Geoff Cameron would certainly be an able deputy in the right back slot, having played there for the majority of the season with Stoke City. Cameron proved during the clean sheets against Costa Rica and Mexico last month, that he looks just as composed at full back as he does in the center of defense.

(More: Huge week for Chandler after US saga rumbled on)

But if Cameron is needed at center back, there has been a huge lack of players with international experience at full back in recent squads. However, players such as Jonathan Spector and Steve Cherundolo could fill in, no problem. But Klinsi also has the option of playing Tony Beltran or even Justin Morrow or Steven Beitashour at right back.

So in fact, when you think about it, if the US were to lose one player, it would be okay to lose Chandler. They have several up and coming defenders who can fill in at full back and also have some older pros who can be called upon.

The latter will probably be used for June’s huge qualifiers, with Cherundolo and Spector helping the US qualify for World Cups in the past. They know how to get it done.

But with Klinsmann you never know, he may just feel the time is right to throw in another youngster to the back line. It paid off with Matt Besler shining against Mexico at the Azteca. Let’s see if Chandler’s injury opens the door for another young MLS defender to excel.

  1. dfstell - May 7, 2013 at 10:55 AM

    Gosh….this is a no-brainer: Just play Cameron there or Cherundolo if he is healthy. I really don’t know that I want to see Cameron at CB when he’s barely played a minute at CB for Stoke this season.

    The only downside to playing Cameron there is that it limits our offense on that side of the field, but we should still be able to cope with CONCACAF opponents.

  2. Dan - May 7, 2013 at 11:42 AM

    There was no mention of Fabian Johnson, but he does have experience there on the club level.

  3. smgraff4 - May 7, 2013 at 12:00 PM

    There are a few options here I think may be better than Johnson (or Chandler), and that’s for starters—Shane O’Neill and Chris Klute of the Rapids (both young and playing some pretty good football right now) and Caleb Stanko. They at least need to compete with Johnson, Dolo, or Cameron for the spot to replace the injured Timmy Chandler.

    Note the men who identified Klute (Eric Wynalda) and who rave about both O’Neill and Stanko (U-20 coach Tab Ramos).

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