Timothy Chandler, #21 (Third From Left)
Entering this international break, very little was known by American fans about Chandler. The son of an American serviceman father and a German-national mother, Chandler had equal opportunity to play for the Germans or the Americans, but apparently had wanted to play for the Yanks for some time. When Bob Bradley made his phone call from Carson, California, Chandler was ecstatic.
Still, little was known about Chandler as a player—having only recently broken into the FC Nurnberg starting XI, the 21-year-old is still growing as a player. His English language skills, while according to reports is better than he lets on, is still a work in progress. So, how would he combine with the rest of the players on the pitch? Would Bob Bradley even give him any time against Argentina with Eric Lichaj on the bench?
As it turned out, Chandler did see time and performed quite well in his first opportunity with the Yanks. In 45 minutes of work against, as already stated, one of if not the best team in the world at the moment in Argentina, Chandler managed to, for the most part, hold his own defensively and provide dangerous crosses in the final third. Chandler’s service from the wing was another factor that contributed to the United States finally being able to prize open the Argentine defense, demonstrating an ability that several other young American backs have not.
While Jonathan Spector received acclaim for his crosses in the 2009 Confederations Cup, his drop in form left the United States without an attacking wing on either side of the pitch (with Carlos Bocanegra being the left back). Steve Cherundolo, while still far and away the best right back the United States has, possesses only adequate crossing ability. Eric Lichaj, a young and promising right back playing for Aston Villa (on loan at Leeds, however) in England has demonstrated hard-nosed defending but, at least to this point, not a penchant for dangerous crossing.
Meanwhile, if there is any single thing that American fans will remember Chandler for in his debut, it was the continual stream of crosses he sent into the box for American strikers and midfielders to attempt to latch onto. While a breakout on the left side of the pitch seemed nonexistent, Chandler could be seen constantly galloping up the right side with the ball, head up, looking for a play to make.
While the US still needs help at the left back position, Chandler’s skill and youth make him yet another potential candidate for a switch to the other side of the pitch for the Americans.