In the landscape of a National Team where fitness, form and availability are constantly in flux, one the mantras that U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has preached from the outset to players is that “the door is always open” for an opportunity to be a part of the group. Look no further than the matches against Guatemala, where Edgar Castillo fought his way back into the picture after a two-year absence. The message is clear: perform, and you have a chance.
The recent club performances from Timmy Chandler and Brek Shea have given Klinsmann another reason to consider them as he builds his roster for this summer’s Copa America Centenario.
Having last appeared for the MNT at the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup, Chandler played sparingly for Eintracht Frankfurt since the new season began in August. With the club welcoming new manager Niko Kovac, the defender returned to the starting lineup on March 19, playing 90 minutes at right back in the club’s 1-0 victory against Hannover 96 before putting in another full shift in the 1-0 defeat to league leaders Bayern Munich a week later.
“Timmy Chandler is back in the lineup for Eintracht Frankfurt and we get another chance to see how he’s doing over the next couple of weeks,” Klinsmann told ussoccer.com. “With Timmy, it’s important to see that he really picks it up and to plays strongly in the Bundesliga in order to have a shot at Copa America.”
With Eintracht Frankfurt locked in a tight relegation battle at the foot of the Bundesliga table, the final six matches should provide the proper intensity to evaluate Chandler’s readiness for this summer’s tournament.
After getting off to a strong start with the MNT in 2015 in which he appeared in the first six matches, injury limited Brek Shea’s appearance to just one match in the second half of the year. The attacking left back put everyone in American soccer back on notice this week with a sizzling left-footed volley that proved to be the game-winner in Orlando City SC’s 4-1 home victory against reigning MLS Cup champion Portland Timbers.
“Another exciting moment in MLS was definitely Brek Shea’s goal,” said Klinsmann. “I think it was a real beauty.”
After playing a quick combination with Brazilian international Kaka on the left-side of the box, Shea unleashed a belting effort that found its way into the opposite upper corner.
With U.S. scouts watching matches all of the world - including Germany and the United States – guys like Chandler and Shea will be pushing to impress as the historic summer approaches.