BRIAN SCIARETTA - Monday, October 25, 2010
When US defender Michael Parkhurst got back on the field for the US national team last week against Colombia, it was a possible sign that the 26 year old former MLS defender of the year could be part of Bob Bradley's effort to rebuild the US national team's aging defense.
Bradley did recently give an indication that perhaps Parkhurst in the future could be in his plans to play right back as opposed to his usual central defense.
Since Parkhurst moved to his Danish club Nordsjælland in 2008, his coach Morten Wieghorst has begun moving to the right side.
Bradley has indicated that he has spoken to Wieghorst and a similar positional change for Parkhurst might happen soon for the US national team.
The option of adding Parkhurst at right back is a welcome sign for the US national team.
Steve Cherundolo is obviously the first choice but he will be 35 at the next World Cup. The other possibilities are either struggling or not yet ready.
Jonathan Spector has not played well for either club or country since the 2009 Confederations Cup and the New England Revolution's Kevin Alston has also suffered from uneven play in his sophomore season.
Furthermore, Eric Lichaj enjoyed a solid debut for the US against Colombia but he is still yet to get regular playing time with Aston Villa.
Freiburg's Danny Williams is another option but he still needs to acquire his American passport which he is eligible for and he is also not a regular for his club.
With none of the right back options behind Cherundolo ready at the moment, Bradley seems ready to turn to Parkhurst to see what he can bring to the table.
"Michael Parkhurst is someone who has had a good stretch with his club in Denmark," Bradley said recently. "Since he got there, he's had a few ups and downs but this last stretch has been pretty positive. [Against Colombia] you can see Michael's ability to read situations and plays. He sniffs things out quite well. So now the only question that always exists is [if] he is going to be able to do that at the highest level. Time will tell."
"I had a good conversation with his club coach in Denmark and they see the same things," Bradley continued. "They have also used him a little bit as a right back which is something that over time maybe we'll have a chance to consider as well."