The following piece was written by Bryan Lincks. You can follow him on Twitter @Bryan_Speaks
For fans brand new to the United States men’s national team, Steve Cherundolo might seem like something out of folk lore, like the Yeti, Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. For more experienced fans, Cherundolo, who has been captaining Hannover 96 in the German Bundesliga since the start of the 2010 season, is widely known as one of the most consistent Yanks abroad over the past decade.
Sadly, as consistent as Cherundolo has been, he has also been consistently injured over the past 12 months with chronic knee issues. He has only recently begun his on-field come back and has started to log minutes for Hannover (albeit against “minor league” sides).
Cherundolo’s potential return should have fans of the USMNT letting out a huge sigh of relief. Cherundolo is a veteran of two World Cups and offers depth at right-back (let’s be honest, at 34, he is not going to play every second of every game), a position that is still very much up for grabs on the U.S. squad heading into next year’s World Cup.
Lately, the position has been manned by Seattle Sounders’ midfielder Brad Evans. Evans’ call-ups, however, always leads to much fervor amongst fans who demand more than converted midfielders on the flanks of the national team. Many thought Timmy Chandler (who also calls the German Bundesliga home) would be the go to right-back, however, after a poor outing against Honduras in February and rumored motivation issues, Chandler has been missing-in-action for the Yanks for several months.
Cherundolo could provide much needed experience to a still burgeoning back line and could very well be the missing link at right-back. Ultimately, Cherundolo’s effectiveness is going to be settled by his ability to come back from his second knee surgery.
If he can remain healthy and effective, look for Cherundolo to be a part of the USMNT again in the very near future.
You can follow Bryan on Twitter @Bryan_Speaks