Timothy Chandler's chances of making the United States World Cup team got even slimmer on Saturday, when he tore the lateral meniscus in his left knee. The injury will keep Chandler out for 8-10 weeks, FC Nurnberg announced.
Chandler hasn't played for the U.S. since February 6, 2013, when he was part of the team that lost to Honduras in the opening match of the Hex. Ever since, he has declined call-ups, been excused by Jurgen Klinsmann or missed through injury. His unwillingness to take the call has upset many U.S. fans and, while it may not have done the same to Klinsmann, it hasn't been appreciated by the U.S. boss.
Making matters worse, Chandler hasn't played that well for the Americans. He's an outstanding player for Nurnberg and if club performance is the barometer, he is easily the best right back the U.S. has. Translating that form to the international game hasn't been so easy, though, and that was on display against Honduras last year.
Despite the friction between Chandler and the U.S. -- and it is debatable how much there really is in this unusual situation -- Klinsmann said earlier this week that the door was still open for Chandler, but that door has to have closed a bit more with this injury. Now he will not be available for the U.S. friendly against Ukraine, which would have been the last chance for Chandler to play for the Americans before World Cup training camp. Now Klinsmann will have to call Chandler in simply based on talent, club form and faith, as opposed to recent first hand experience with that player and a possible strong performance in Kharkiv.
Chandler is still the best right back the U.S. has, but with him facing 8-10 weeks out, it's time to wonder whether he'll get the chance to prove that again before he's written out of the Americans' World Cup plans for good.