BRIAN SCIARETTA - Monday, March 5, 2012
One week ago USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann was left scrambling to find players to fill out his roster to take on Italy.

A sudden rash of injuries forced him to replace Jermaine Jones, Timothy Chandler, Landon Donovan, and Jose Torres. One week before that, Klinsmann's team was informed that starting central defender Oguchi Onyewu would be out two months with a knee injury.

Chandler's hamstring injury was reported to keep him out three weeks and the calf injury to Jermaine Jones was less clear.

This past weekend, however, saw both players make Bundesliga starts for their club. This therefore raised the question as to whether German medical care pulled off a miracle, or whether the injuries were exaggerated in the first place.

Let's not take a huge risk and assume the later.

It may be a little more forgiving for Jones who is older and who played well in January for two friendlies and a scrimmage against the US U-23 national team.

For Chandler, pulling out of the last friendly is more disappointing. It has become a pattern now for him to miss out on key games.

He rejected an invitation to play in last summer's Gold Cup to rest after his first professional season. Likewise in the team's first game under Klinsmann in a friendly against Mexico, he withdrew because of an injury but ended up playing the following weekend.

When midweek friendlies come about on the FIFA calendar, a few players reporting injuries is nothing new. It happens. But for Chandler, it seems to be happening more frequently. And this game was a short plane flight away in Italy. It didn't require a transatlantic flight.

I don't believe for a second that Chandler is still flirting with the German national team as those rumors have been flying around for close to a year now. The most likely scenario is that he is likely focused primarily on his club career and the wishes of his employer.

In the end of the day, the US team pulled off the upset and many players put on strong performances. Clint Dempsey, Fabian Johnson, Clarence Goodson, Michael Bradley, and Jozy Altidore all were very strong. Many players required similar sacrifices to Chandler in order to play in the game.

Chandler remains a top American player with elite athleticism and a very bright future. It would just be nice to see him with the team every game possible so that he can be involved in the budding chemistry. As a player who is likely going to be a key part of the team for years to come, it would be particularly beneficial to see him grow into a leadership role and part of that is consistently showing up for big games.
Wednesday March 14, 2012 1:58 pm
A chill pill? OK, how many games does a player need to miss before you begin to question it? You dismiss it all because it's "just a friendly." Try telling that to the coach who is trying do build a new offensive-minded system and needs friendlies to do it. I doubt he called up Donovan ten times now and said "Well, this is just a friendly. You can skip it if you feel it's not important." This was, by the way, a friendly against the four-time world champs and turned out to be a historic win. Bronchitis, as I already stated, generally disappears in less than 48 hours on antibiotics. I am reminded of Michael Jordan playing (and dominating) even with a fever. I love Landon Donovan and hope he continues to get called up but he is apparently no Michael Jordan.
Monday March 12, 2012 12:23 am
Some of the people on here need to take a chill pill. folks these games are FRIENDLIES and Landon had BRONCHITIS try playing with it as it may be harder than swine flu. As for Chandler I don't doubt for a second his loyalty to the national team, however his club manager Dieter Hecking seems to be one crazy dude hell bent on getting his way (he always looks like he wants to kill someone on tv). He may have let other players go on their way to their friendlies but most of the nurnberg intls don't play as integral a role to the squad as chandler does. When it comes time for the two money games this summer both will be in the starting line up. You can take it to the bank.
Thursday March 8, 2012 7:41 pm

“Could he still be harboring ill feelings toward JK from his short bout at Bayern Munich, where his short loan was not extended despite scoring four goals in six games?”

If you research that situation a bit you will find Donovan was there because of JK.

You will also find that Donovan’s loan period did not work out in part because many of the players hated JK and saw Landon as an extension of him. LD was not well received by the players unlike the experience he had at Everton. The management also held Landon’s so called non performance against JK. Many say bringing in Landon contributed to JK getting fired as in “is that the best he can do??”. You have no idea what an incredibly risky thing it was for JK to bring in LD at that time.

So if anyone should be upset with anyone ( and of course no one is) JK should be upset with Landon for helping to get him fired.

If Donovan is healthy and playing well when the qualifiers roll around JK will call him in. The US is doing well but they would be crazy to leave out arguably their best player. And JK is not crazy or stupid.
Wednesday March 7, 2012 6:58 pm
I disagree with that: Nuernberg are actually doing better than anticipated. Just took a look at the Bundesliga table and they are only five points off 6th place. They were supposed to fight against relegation. AND the team doesn't really have a say if a player reports to his national team or not - it's completely up to the player. Nuernbergs other international players went to play for their national sides - just sayin...
Wednesday March 7, 2012 11:23 am
Jose is right. The REAL story here is Donovan's continued absence (he's played in only two of Klinnsman's ten games). Could he still be harboring ill feelings toward JK from his short bout at Bayern Munich, where his short loan was not extended despite scoring four goals in six games? Donovan, you've got nothing to be ashamed of and your place in US soccer history is secure, unless you start to act like a miffed prima donna, putting yourself and your bruised ego before team and country. Bronchitis? Doesn't that disappear in 24 hours with antibiotics? Klinnsman is moving this team forward toward greater success. Don't you think it's time you became part of it?
Tuesday March 6, 2012 10:37 am
Maybe he doesn't like playing as a left back.
Tuesday March 6, 2012 1:24 am
Jose -

Lets be real. Comparing Chandler's contribution to Landon's is nothing short of ridiculous. Landon has played for the US for over a decade and in 3 WCs and multiple other FIFA tournaments, not to mention scored some of the most memorable goals in US Soccer history. Landon is no longer a "young kid" and he's come off a long MLS season and an offseason loan in the Prem. He needs to slow down and rest. He doesn't need to prove himself in meaningless friendlies across the Atlantic.

Chandler is challenging to get into the US squad. He's not a set starter. He needs to realize that there are players who would die to wear the shirt. If he doesn't want it, it'll pass him by.
Tuesday March 6, 2012 1:04 am
Im assuming Chandler's team just isnt willing to let their starting winger leave on international duty to play wing-back. Nurenburg is currently not doing as well as they anticipated. With that said, the "Mystery" surrounding the pull-out then the start is definitely not a head-scratcher. I think Jones didnt want to leave his club considering that the person taking his place in jones absense was holding it down effectively.
Monday March 5, 2012 9:02 pm
You talk about Timothy Chandler, but no word about Donovan , his been missing most of the games , have the filing that he is influence by his coach whom happen to not like Klinsmann did you ask why???
Monday March 5, 2012 9:00 pm
I noticed the same thing last weekend when checking lineups before the games had begun. Seems very suspect for them to get the start. It would have been different had they entered later in the game.

I'm not going to take a specific side on this, but it's awfully shady.

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