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Steve Cherundolo back on the field, and that is one huge (and underrated) plus for United States

May 14, 2013, 7:15 PM EDT

CONCACAF Championship - United States v Mexico Getty Images

A big talker among the Yanks abroad brigade last weekend was Clint Dempsey’s huge goal for Tottenham. Atta boy, Duece!

Brad Guzan was topical, too, as awards came a’tumbling his way and West Ham put the U.S. backup ‘keeper on its summer shopping list.

But here was one that fell through the media maven cracks just a bit – but a newsy bit that may be every bit as important in the bigger picture: Steve Cherundolo got back on the field for Hannover 96.

It’s an important development for the longtime U.S. incumbent right back, who was hurt for much of the spring, but did get healthy and back on the field before tumbling out of Die Roten lineup.

Cherundolo lost his place in the Hannover lineup after he was part of the team chewed up by the Bayern Munich machine back on April 20.

It certainly smarts to go down at home by a five-spot. The runaway Bundesliga champs battered Cherundolo’s club that day, 6-1. We mentioned that was in Hannover, right?

Still, that surely wasn’t Cherundolo’s fault. Still, he didn’t appear in the side’s next two matches, an important win at SpVgg Greuther Furth and then a disappointing draw at home to Mainz. He was on the bench for both of those, but appeared in neither.

So last weekend, good news arrived in Cherundolo’s appearance in the starting 11 in Hannover’s loss at Bayer Leverkusen. It marked massive disappointment for Cherundolo’s longtime club, whose Europa League hopes were extinguished for good last weekend at the Bay Arena.

But the silver lining for U.S. fans was getting a game for the veteran defender.

Considering Timothy Chandler’s injury, which depleted the U.S. outside back depth, and considering the youth of Klinsmann’s rebuilt back line, a fit and in-form Cherundolo would mean so much.

Whatever was made of Chandler’s injury and the bigger picture, Cherundolo was always the more important outside back heading into these three critical June qualifiers. He was probably Klinsmann’s first-choice right back all along. Cherundolo has historically been so easy to overlook, but anyone paying close attention can see how much he adds in knowing just when to press into the attack, and in skillful, well-considered crossing from the right side.

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