U.S. Soccer spelled out the stakes for Timmy Chandler in its roster announcement for the opening match in the final round of 2014 World Cup qualifying.
"Should he appear in the World Cup qualifier, Timmy Chandler will officially become cap-tied to the United States," the federation's release said. "Chandler has already played in nine friendly matches."
That investment in the German-bred 22-year-old right back was on track for zero payoff in May, when he turned down a U.S. invite. Whatever the reasons for his hesitance, it looked like he was just hedging.
But U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann didn't lose faith, and Chandler now has the chance to prove his commitment. With Steve Cherundolo injured, he likely will start against Honduras in San Pedro Sula on Wednesday. If he does, there's no turning back.
"I think he's simply just maturing. He's growing into his role as a full-time professional," Klinsmann said on a conference call from Miami on Monday. "Some it takes a couple of years longer, and that's why we were very patient and are patient with Timmy to mature."
- Craig Stouffer