Timmy Chandler walked onto the field at Talen Energy Stadium on Friday almost three years to the day since he last left it.
Plenty has happened to him since then, both with the U.S. and his club team Eintracht Frankfurt, which will play the Union in the so-called Sister Cities Cup on Saturday night (7 p.m., live video on the Union’s Facebook page). But while some U.S. national team fans might have forgotten about that last visit, for the 2015 Gold Cup third-place game — and others may have forgotten deliberately, since the U.S. lost a dull contest to Panama in a penalty-kick shootout — Chandler still remembers.
“It feels like a long time ago,” he said after a practice Friday evening in Chester.
He didn’t play for the national team after that until late in 2016, and what happened then is even more memorable. He was on the field for the World Cup qualifying losses to Mexico and Costa Rica that November which cost then-coach Jurgen Klinsmann his job.
Chandler, born in Frankfurt to an American serviceman and German mother, was one of Klinsmann’s dual-national recruits. Now 28, he hasn’t been called up to the national team since Klinsmann’s dismissal. He knows he might not end up getting another chance, since he’ll be 32 when the next World Cup kicks off in 2022. But if he gets the call, he’d gladly take it.
“When they call me up for the national team, I’m there,” he said. “Of course I miss it. … I see all the players go to their national teams, and I want to fly to the States and play for my country. But the coach decides who plays, and I just wait for him to call me.”
Chandler made some better memories with Eintracht this past season. They won the German Cup, the club’s first major trophy in 20 years. He has also enjoyed being one of many Americans in the Bundesliga these days. He’s close with fellow national team veterans John Brooks and Fabian Johnson, with whom he played at the 2014 World Cup, as well as Alfredo Morales. And while he doesn’t know the new crop of young Americans in Germany quite as well, like Josh Sargent and Weston McKennie, he’s happy to see them coming.
“It’s good for them to come over to Germany, to Europe, to try something different than the States,” he said. “When you go there, you have to live there for some months and get everything better [adjusting off the field], but it’s good to go there, play there, have some time in Europe, learn a lot, and then maybe they can come back to America and finish their careers.”