Chandler's injury opens door for Cherundolo re-emergence
Timing sure hasn't been Timmy Chandler's thing.
For Chandler, the German-American right back who was finally cap-tied to the U.S. in January, being absent in big spots for the U.S. is not new. He sat out the entire semifinal round of World Cup qualifying and had to miss the last two qualifiers in March with an injury. Now, with friendlies and qualifiers on the horizon, Chandler is a doubt.
He's set to miss three to four weeks with a left knee ligament injury, according to an announcement Tuesday from his club, FC Nurnberg. His place in friendlies against Belgium and Germany and World Cup qualifiers against Jamaica, Panama and Honduras is now in serious question. The U.S. fared fine without him against Costa Rica and Mexico with Geoff Cameron stepping into the void, and a place might reopen on the back line for national-team staple Steve Cherundolo.
After missing a few months with a knee injury of his own, Cherundolo is back in the mix for Hannover 96 and is again an option for Jurgen Klinsmann. The 34-year-old veteran, according to reports from Germany, is on the cusp of a contract extension that will secure his place as the "Mayor of Hannover" for the final year leading up to the World Cup. He is also a game away from setting the club's mark for games played at 367. With no player staking a secure claim to his right back spot while he was out -- Chandler was all out of sorts against Honduras, and Cameron had his moments in the following two qualifiers and has been in and out of the Stoke City lineup in recent weeks -- the reliable Cherundolo may yet have a major role to play going forward.
One player who could be joining Chandler and Cherundolo in the Bundesliga next season is German-American striker Andrew Wooten, 23, who is coming off his second multi-goal game of the season. On loan at soon-to-be-relegated Sandhausen in Germany's second tier, Wooten scored twice this weekend to up his season total to seven. Meanwhile, his parent club, Kaiserslautern, is in prime position to play in a promotion playoff (which could happen against either Michael Parkhurst's Augsburg or Fabian Johnson and Danny Williams' Hoffenheim). Should Kaiserslautern make the leap, Wooten would be in the mix to accompany the club.
Aside from Wooten, the other American goalscorer abroad this past week was Alejandro Bedoya, who remained in top form in Sweden. Bedoya scored for the third time in four games and increased his total to a single-season, career-high five goals in 10 games across all competitions for Allsvenskan-leading Helsingborg. Other notable performances included Brad Guzan backstopping Aston Villa to a second straight win and the brink of safety from relegation; Eric Lichaj seeing his first minutes for Villa since an FA Cup match on Jan. 25; and Tim Howard posting his second straight clean sheet for Everton and his fourth in the last five games. Here is how the Americans abroad contingent as a whole fared (season statistics encompass all competitions):