During the Klinsmann era we have seen 8 different starters as Right-Back including 5 different players since the team's victory over Guatemla to push us into the Hex last fall. No one answer seens to be better than the others.
Lets just take a quick look at the player who have featured in this position since August of 2011.
Steve Cherundolo - 15
Michael Parkhurst - 7
Brad Evans - 4
Geoff Cameron - 3
Timmy Chandler - 3
Tony Beltran - 2
A.J. DeLaGarza - 2
Fabian Johnson - 1
Of this bunch, Cherundolo, Parkhurst, Evans, Cameron and Chandler have all started at least one world cup qualifier...we've played 12...6 this year...and Cherundolo hasn't appear since that Guatemala match.
Steve Cherundolo has been one of the most consistent players the US has fielded in years. He started in 2 world cups, 2006 & 2010, he captain a US B-team to a 2nd place finish in the 2009 Gold Cup and he has 87 caps since first appearing for the US in 1999. The "Mayor of Hannover" also has nearly 400 appearances for Bundesliga club Hannover 96, a team which he has been at for his entire career and has worn the captain's armband for the last few years.
Impressive resume, but unfortunarely you don't get a resume like that without a lengthy career and a lot of miles on those legs. Dolo turned 34 this year, and for the first time in years seems to be struggling with consistent nagging injuries. He has yet to appear for the squad this year as he has rehabed his knee which recently underwent surgery. Klinsmann seems ready and willing to call up the vet for upcoming fixtures, and even though he will turn 35 by the next World Cup, Dolo may still have a little let in the tank. The reality is that this is a gamble the US has a frightfully high chance of losing. I don't like thinking that, but it seems to be long odds that Cherundolo will be the undisputed top dog.
It seemed from the beginning of Klinsmann's time here he had appointed his next man up. Timmy Chandler seemed to be what America needed from a RB: tall, athletic, attack-minded but solid on defense and most importantly young. However Chandler, who had solid performances (though primarily at LB) during 2011, only appeared once in 2012...in the final game. He only has one appearance in 2013, and it was a very weak game in San Pedro Sula. Since then there have been reports of his hesitance to play with the US because of air travel, now whether true or not, it always seems that he is injured right around the time they get ready to announce call-ups. I don't know if he just needs to get his head in the right place or what, but he is quickly running out of time. You can only say no so many times before the phone calls stop coming.
Michael Parkhurst has been a Klinsmann favorite for a while. He has been on the roster for all but two World Cup qualifiers during Klinsmann's tenure, Costa Rica & Mexico in March when he was struggling to earn playing time with Ausberg in Germany. He only played two however and despite starting all but one match in the 2013 Gold Cup, he didn't necessarily wow anybody. If he gets any significant playing time with Ausberg this year, he has a legitimate chance to keep making rosters, but unless there is a huge improvement, most people would be really worried to see him in the XI for a World Cup match.
When you yourself say that your natural position is center back, how awkward is it for you to line up at RB week in and week out? If I ever get a chance to speak to Geoff Cameron that is what I would ask. Cameron is a clearly talented and versatile player, but...he's not a starting RB. I may be proven wrong if he continues to play there for Stoke City this year...on a side note, if the rumors do end up being true, am I the only one salivating at the prospect of a US defensive pairing on the same Premier League squad. (re- Gonzo being looked at by Stoke rumors).
Staying on players playing out of their natural position, Brad Evans certainly did play well during that 4-game run this summer. Does he deserve another look? Yes. Do I think it will work out? No. Evans is a solid player, and if Klinsmann is true to form in playing the best XI, but not necessarily the best players, Evans might fit the mold he is looking for. But, do we really want a player with 4 games experience holding down our right flank?
Beltran has another January camp to look forward to. He is not in the picture at this time. DeLaGarza is a CB and is only on this list because of two starts in the 2012 January camp.
The only other guy who has started for this team, is Fabian Johnson...perhaps you recall him playing RB in one of the USMNT's most important wins of the Klinsmann era...Azteca against Mexico. With the exception of that game, every game Johnson has played for us has been on the left side, despite the fact that he is right footed. Now I know that a player who spends his entire career/life playing on one side can develop certain tendencies, but maybe it's time to push him out of his comfort zone. Beasley has played LB admirably in 2013, Donovan will force his way into the line-up in attack somewhere, Johnson's spot at LM must look mighty appealing for the US leader in goals and assists, why not move a guy who has proven to have all the tools we have been looking for to the right? This, in my opinion, is the easiest solution and perhaps best solution.
There are a plethora of other players in the pool or potentially entering the pool who have the abilities we could be looking for, how long before this players get a look.
-Jonathan Spector seemed to be Dolo's back-up during the Bradley era, however he has only played 3 matches during Klinsmann's time. Also, his club Birmingham City, primarily plays him in the midfield
-Eric Lichaj has had a roster spot on an EPL roster up till this summer, but has not appeared since the 2011 Gold Cup.
-Michael Orozco plays RB at Puebla...why isn't he getting a shot there with the USMNT?
-DeAndre Yedlin, Sheannon Williams & Kofi Sarkodie were standout for the youth squads, they are young and talented, and all merit future appearances with the national squad, I would not be surprised if Yedlin's meteoric rise in 2013 culminates with a call-up. Many people may argue with me that we already have too many choices, but when none of them are a solution for at least the next 12 months, maybe its time to look young, and 1 of these 3 MLSer's might have what it takes
-Why has Sean Franklin not received a call in almost 3 years? Starter on the most successful MLS squad of the past 5 years, how does it not translate to the US? Struggles with the final ball? Tendency to ball watch? He is a very solid one on one defender and he is very athletic getting down the flank.
-Alfredo Morales & Danny Williams have played RB in the past, but have played almost entirely CM recently, I think it might not be unreasonable to give them a shot, especially Williams who finds himself on many US rosters.
-Maurice Edu...I'm just spitballing here
There is extreme depth at this position...but it is all extremely fluid. We have only 4 qualifiers left and maybe a handful of friendlies to find the right guy to put back there. Lotta options, little certainty. It's unusual to be weak at this position, but I trust that we will get this sorted