BERLIN, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 04: Ronny (R) of Berlin battles for the ball with Steven Cherundolo (L) of Hannover while the winky emoticon on Steve's chest creeps out onlookers. (Photo by Matthias Kern/Bongarts/Getty Images)
See how clever I am. I start with the goalkeepers and then move to our most obvious position of depth next. Next I'll tell you that Clint Dempsey should be starting as our number 10. Seriously, if we are having right back problem anytime before 2018, I'll be surprised.
1. Steve Cherundolo, 33, Hannover 96 (German Bundesliga), 35 in 2014
There have been some signs lately that his skills are declining. Whereas he was the captain at Hannover, he has been relegated to the bench at several times during the past season. The problem with age and fullbacks is that most teams don't put crafty wingers on the field to oppose you they put out Theo Walcotts that push forward with speed and little else. Luckily, he will never have to face anyone as good as Gareth Bale, since he's a Welshman but eventually age and competition will see him supplanted. Just not yet.
2 Eric Lichaj, 23, Aston Villa (EPL), 25
Speaking of Gareth Bale, guess who shut him down during that all world spell he went on last year (memorably when he just embarrassed Maicon in the Champion's League)? If you guessed Eric Lichaj, you probably watch too much American soccer or realized that his name is listed above here and I'm writing in ridiculous formats these days. If he ever stays healthy, (this will be a familiar refrain for American EPL players throughout this series) he is our second best right back ahead of Timmy Chandler. Do I suppose there could be a time where Chandler is better on the right? Yes, but as you will see there may be two openings on the field for these players.
3. Timothy Chandler, 22, 1.FC Nürnberg (German Bundesliga), 24
Of the German-Americans, we have seen the most of Timmy Chandler, and perhaps have no idea what we have still. With the continual play of Steve Cherundolo, he hasn't featured for the US on the right yet and has gotten all of his minutes down the left. Of the three here, he has perhaps the most desire to attack but he also showed he could shut down solid competition when he faced Antonio Valencia of Ecuador and Manchester United. The problem with his attacks on the left is they left him having to cross off his weak foot, so it would be fun to see him try from the right for the United States. If he an Lichaj are equal on form, expect Chandler to play due to familiarity at this point with Klinsmann.
4. Jonathan Spector, 26, Birmingham City (Championship), 28
I've mentioned Spector before as the perfect number 23 on your roster. He can play multiple positions, but isn't the top dog at any of them. I don't expect him to be getting many more minutes as a National Team player given his positional values, but there are worse guys to have in camp just in case. He can play in the midfield, but with him it has never been a lack of talent. Sometimes, he just disappears mentally be it for a single moment or long slumps.
Sometimes, I look at their age and think that guy's young he could be contributing for years. Then, I realize he's the third youngest and third on the depth chart and think well not so much. It's why any MLS player who plays right back shouldn't get their hopes up and why I won't include any MLS sleepers for this position. If we are digging any deeper than Zach Loyd for right backs something awful has happened to our depth.
Alfredo Morales, 21, HSC Berlin, 23
Like I said, no one is going to challenge Cherundolo, Lichaj, and Chandler to this position for a bit. So it was odd that Jurgen Klinsmann called in Morales back in November. However, depth is important and youthful depth is best. Youth and a Jonathan Spector-like ability to play both right back and defensive midfield should keep Morales in the mix. Mind you, he could still pick Peru, but that isn't likely either. This isn't a crazy outside the box choice, but right back isn't a crazy outside the box position for the United States.
Sporting KC Angle:
(I'll add this for each position with eligible and reasonable players of US descent.)
Chance Myers, 24, 26 in 2014
Myers has had a good year for Sporting KC. However, his best chance for playing time will be in January MLS-heavy camps. The peak I would give him is third on the depth chart, but that is a heavy task as well. I think he's on Zach Loyd's level, but not favored as much. The youth of his competition and their current playing time in superior leagues will detract from his chances to get on the field.