Kick Off: Chandler says he feels more "American" by the day
Heck, even Timmy Chandler's mom is glad the 23-year-old right back has committed his future to the US national team.
On Wednesday in San Pedro Sula, US fans can finally breath a sigh of relief. Once the opening whistle blows against Honduras (4 pm ET, beIN Sport, live chat on MLSsoccer.com), Chandler's on-again, off-again relationship with the US will be cemented in stone, forever ending the hand wringing that's become endemic among American fans desperate to prevent the side's right back of the future from getting away.
While the rest of us were busy speculating about Chandler's future, one which looks increasingly bright, Jurgen Klinsmann kept the lines of communication open – secure in the knowledge that the young defender had some growing up to do before making a life-altering decision.
“I think he’s simply just maturing,” Klinsmann said. “He’s growing into his role as a full-time professional. We were very patient or are patient with Timmy to mature. For us coaches, it’s the job to understand where certain players are. He still has a lot to improve. He still has a way to go.”
Klinsmann may be referring mostly to performance, but Chandler's also got some work to do regarding his perception among US supporters as well. Even now, some wonder if his commitment will be enough to win over a fanbase that's been burned in the past.
In light of that, US fans will be overjoyed to hear the Nürnburg product admits he feels more and more of a connection to the States: “I feel increasingly more American,” Chandler said. “I follow American current events now. Every time I fly over to the United States, it feels like I am coming home.”
One thing's for sure, San Pedro Sula won't feel like home for the US. Honduras may be spellbindingly beautiful, but it's also chaotic at the moment, with crime disrupting daily life and keeping the US team and the press contingent following them on guard.
Make no mistake, though, all of Honduras will be out for the opening game of the Hexagonal for both teams. Wednesday will be a national holiday in the Central American nation, with businesses, government offices and schools closing early for the afternoon kick off.
“The US and Mexico have traditionally been powerhouses in the region and the rest of the countries, they want a scalp, want to knock us off," US goalkeeper TIm Howard said. "The whole country stops just for this game. It’s hard for us as Americans to fathom, but it does. It’s like their Super Bowl Sunday. Everybody’s focused on that.”
Meanwhile, the US are focused on one thing: boarding the flight home from the first of 10 World Cup qualifiers with at least a point, perhaps even three. To do so, they'll need to be at their best, including Klinsmann, who gave a fascinating glimpse into his coaching philosophy and influences to ESPN's Roger Bennett.
The Honduran team they'll face is likely to be anchored by MLS products, including Roger Espinoza, Boniek García and Jerry Bengtson – all of whom are expected to start, according to the local press. (SPANISH)
If you're looking for a MLS fix today before tomorrow afternoon's match, watch the Portland Timbers and Seattle Sounders go at it live at 12:30 pm ET in Tuscon, Ariz., via live stream at MLSsoccer.com.
Neither of the Cascadia sides made player moves on Monday, but it was a busy day in MLS nonetheless. Kenny Cooper's return to FC Dallas stole the headlines, and the 18-goal man will also be joined in north Texas by DP striker Eric Hassli, who TFC traded in order to set up a handful of moves.
Could Ramón Nuñez also be on his way back to FC Dallas? Schellas Hyndman confirmed the former Leeds United winger will join the club in Cancún in a bid to earn a contract. (SPANISH)
Could another former Leeds man be on his way back to MLS as well? Robbie Rogers' rights went to Chicago along with Dilly Duka in a trade that netted the Crew forward Dominic Oduro, only Rogers had no idea it happened until he read about it himself.
Oduro arrives in Columbus with one goal: win a starting spot alongside Jairo Arrieta. Chicago, meanwhile, needed reinforcements on the wing and got two – potentially – in Duka and Rogers, if they can convince the former Crew stalwart to join them that is.
Mexican clubs have become increasingly successful at convincing young Mexican Americans to ply their trade south of the border. Read this in-depth interview with Pachuca's head of scouting, who says he "can go and watch the U-20 Galaxy train and take their players."
There are no plans in the works for a New York derby between the Red Bulls and Cosmos just yet, but that doesn't mean former New York/New Jersey MetroStars teammates Mike Petke and Giovanni Savarese don't wish each other well. Petke is ahead of the game, though, as Savarese still must build his squad from the ground up.
San Jose want Simon Dawkins back, but he's got a relegation battle to fight with Aston Villa first: “Anything I can do to get Villa out of trouble, I will," Dawkins said. "I want to help the club stay up and save them from relegation. Things can turn quickly. One week you are in the relegation zone but a few wins and you are out of it. Let’s hope we can get that going and save ourselves."
David Beckham looked like a saint when it was revealed his salary will be donated to charity. Turns out he may not be quite as philanthropic as it was originally believed.
Finally, as a massive match-fixing scandal envelops the sport, reports are flying that MLS will ban electronic communication in locker rooms before games to prevent any funny business.
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