[USA SPOTLIGHT] About three months after making his competitive debut that cap-tied the German product to the USA, outside back Timmy Chandler has been sidelined with torn knee ligaments.
Chandler, 23, suffered the injury training with his German club Nuremberg and will miss the final two games of the Bundesliga season. Projected to be out three to four weeks, Chandler's status for the next three Hexagonal qualifiers, to be played June 7, 11, and 18, is uncertain.
After twice turning down opportunities to play for the USA in competitive matches, Chandler accepted a call-up from Coach Jurgen Klinsmann and played in the Hexagonal opener, a 2-1 loss to Honduras, on Feb. 6. He got the start in place of veteran Steve Cherundolo, who himself had suffered a knee injury.
Stoke City defender Geoff Cameron started at right back for the U.S. in the last two Hexagonal matches, a 1-0 defeat of Costa Rica March 22 and a 0-0 tie against Mexico four days later. If Chandler cannot recover in time for the June Hexagonal matches, Klinsmann has Cherundolo and Cameron available.
A dual citizen of the United States and Germany, Chandler debuted for the U.S. more than two years ago in a friendly against Argentina, but then declined a U.S. call-up for competitive matches when summoned by former national team head coach Bob Bradley for the 2011 Gold Cup. At the time he cited fatigue, though he’d been dogged by rumors he was either holding out for a German call-up or was feeling pressure from his club to rest up and strengthen his place in the Nuremberg lineup.
He turned down Klinsmann last year during the semifinal round of qualifying, and though the coach proclaimed he and the program were moving on without Chandler, the door remained open. Late in 2012, Chandler accepted a call-up and played against Russia in a friendly. Under FIFA regulations regarding a player who is eligible to play for more than one country, his appearance against Honduras ties him to the U.S. team.
A gauntlet of three qualifiers in 12 days will strain the U.S. roster, so the probable absence of Chandler is a headache for Klinsmann. Chandler could miss the friendlies against Belgium (May 29) and Germany (June 2) and still be an option for the qualifers against, in order, Jamaica away and Panama and Honduras at home, though he’d be well short of match-fit.