I promise this was not held back so late in the day for suspense; the dirty little secret is that USMNT quality advances have made Klinsi's job freakin' hard. Nevertheless, we've arrived at the right back station...
This corner of the depth chart could change a lot in the coming months. Steve Cherundolo could get fit and exhibit fresher legs than one would expect to go with his wise brain. Guys like Eric Lichaj and Jonathan Spector could still have a say if selection woes expand (though I'm not sure this position could conjure much more upheaval). Or perhaps the coach could experimentally dip into a decent pool of young MLS right backs. Combined with the uncertainty over on the left side of defense, the choices here are admittedly tenuous.
Now to discuss the three players above, none of whom is currently registering as an ideal pick to start, for various reasons. At the same time, all three are versatile enough to offer some degree of help at left back. Parkhurst gets my nod at this particular time because his club inactivity hasn't seemed to affect his US play much so far. He's also pretty good with the ball and has the most top level experience of those fit/capable at right back. Chandler certainly has it in his locker to claim the spot with a flourish, and his early season Bundesliga form is finally ticking back up, but like so many Nats' wingbacks his back post defending is unnerving to me. Frankly, for now, I'd be happy to see him first go on a good Bundesliga run. Evans has been fairly impressive in a small sample size, but worries me most in pondering the likelihood he can stay solid when a Franck Ribéry-caliber player is relentlessly testing him over the course of one or more games. The other two I could envision pulling off a nice show in a knockout game, while Evans' midfield versatility is practically null-and-void with the now crazy-deep potential depth chart there.
Soooo I guess this is where we get into the argument over how important current form (or recent USMNT appearances, for that matter) should be in selecting squads and line-ups. I think many over-calculate this factor into their formula, often ignoring things such as experience, performance ceiling against top opponents (such as one would find at World Cup) and just good old-fashioned formation fit. It's not always the best 11 available players and it's certainly not the best 11 for form.
And that's all I have to say about that... until the comments section, presumably.
- Greg Seltzer