Philadelphia, PA – Steve Cherundolo is not getting any younger.
The right back has been a staple with the U.S. national team since breaking out on the international scene in 1999, piling up a total of 87 caps to rank 18th for most appearances for the men's team. But at 34 years of age, Cherundolo's impressive career is winding down and the 2014 World Cup could be his last foray at the international level.
It is with that in mind that Jurgen Klinsmann must consider a viable, long- term solution to fill that forthcoming void.
The position has been recycled amongst a couple of candidates looking to secure the role, but no one man has made it his own.
Timothy Chandler, one of Klinsmann's favorite foreign-based players in the national team pool, and Geoff Cameron, who held the right back position for the national team's successive clean sheets against Costa Rica and Mexico in World Cup qualifying last month, appear to be neck-and-neck in competing for the vacancy, but some consideration should be given to Chance Myers.
The Sporting Kansas City defender made headlines this weekend by netting his first career goals, scoring twice in a 3-2 home loss to the Portland Timbers on Saturday.
Myers displayed his team-first attitude after the match, opting to bring attention to the defeat as opposed to his personal success.
"I enjoyed them for about two minutes after each goal," Myers said about his strikes. "But it's tough to not come away with a victory. I'd take the win any day, but I guess it's cool to score."
It was an uncharacteristic result given Sporting's defensive dominance through its first seven matches of the season. Kansas City had conceded just three goals in its first seven contests, a stretch that included a 546-minute shutout streak.
Myers, a key figure at the helm of Sporting's defense, has been a model of consistency for Kansas City over the past couple of seasons, and it is no coincidence that the club's rise to prominence parallels the path of its first-choice right back. The 25-year-old has attained a level of prolonged personal success at the club level that warrants a call-up to the national team.
And Klinsmann should have no qualms in handing an opportunity to Myers after the impressive stints that other Sporting Kansas City players have enjoyed with the national team.
Graham Zusi has been tabbed as an up-and-coming piece to the puzzle for some time, and the Sporting midfielder is beginning to get a taste of success in key U.S. matches. The University of Maryland product started both World Cup qualifiers against Costa Rica and Mexico, giving the Americans width and creativity in adverse conditions.
Matt Besler, meanwhile, had made just one appearance for the United States before being issued into the greatest test of his career. Klinsmann handed the center back a starting role against Mexico at the Azteca and Besler came through in a big way, anchoring the defense with poise and putting in a faultless shift to lead the Americans to a clean sheet against their bitter rivals.
Klinsmann is not likely to thrust Myers into such a situation as long as Chandler and Cameron, both of whom bring more experience to the table, stay healthy, but the U.S. coach has an opportunity to get a look at the Sporting defender in a pair of low-pressure contests against high-quality opponents.
The United States has two friendly matches on home soil, May 29 against Belgium and June 2 against Germany. Klinsmann has made a habit of rotating players throughout his tenure with U.S. Soccer, and the upcoming friendlies would provide an ideal opportunity to continue that trend in order to see what Myers can offer.
The friendlies ideally would be used by Klinsmann to fine-tune the plan before World Cup qualifying resumes in Jamaica on June 7, but it's worth getting a look at a player who could play a potential role in the World Cup the following year.
It would take a lot for someone to usurp Chandler and Cameron, but if Myers gets his "Chance" and takes it in stride like Zusi and Besler have with their respective opportunities, then the competition for the coveted right-back spot will become even more complex.