Ex-defender Cherundolo positive about future of US team

Sep 9, 2021, 7:32 PM | Updated: Sep 10, 2021, 7:52 am

BERLIN (AP) — Former defender Steve Cherundolo is excited about the future of the U.S. team and has “no regrets” about not playing with the current crop of Champions League participants.

Cherundolo played at two World Cups and amassed 87 appearances for the United States until the last in 2012. He spent 17 years playing for German team Hannover, where he started his coaching career after retirement in 2014.

The coach of USL Championship team Las Vegas Lights, the 42-year-old Cherundolo is well placed to assess the state of the U.S. roster, and he is confident despite lingering disappointment from the failure by the U.S. to qualify for the last World Cup.

“It’s a good reminder that if you don’t perform in every qualifier, that things like that can happen,” Cherundolo told journalists in an online call this week after the U.S. rolled past Honduras 4-1 on Wednesday.

Cherundolo focused on positive aspects of the win in San Pedro Sula and the opening draws at El Salvador and at home against Canada, saying the performances were “very promising” at times.

“Right now, points wise, you’re on track to qualify for a World Cup. And I feel very good that this team and its coaching staff will get there,” Cherundolo said of qualification for the tournament in Qatar next year.

With the likes of Christian Pulisic at Chelsea, Gio Reyna at Borussia Dortmund, John Brooks at Wolfsburg, Weston McKennie at Juventus, Tyler Adams at Leipzig and Sergiño Dest at Barcelona, the American roster is well stocked with players from Europe’s best clubs – all playing in the Champions League this season.

But it was another who grabbed the headlines with his performance in San Pedro Sula.

Ricardo Pepi scored one goal and set up two more on his debut and Cherundolo said the 18-year-old forward had a “huge ceiling” after everything he’s heard and seen of the player.

“He has the physical characteristics of a classic No. 9. He’s tall, lanky, he has pace, he’s good in the air, he can finish with his feet. He really is the full package. He obviously has a lot to learn, but I am very excited about this player,” Cherundolo said.

Reflecting on his own career, he said he really enjoyed the mix of young and old when he was with the national team.

“I was able to learn from the older players when I was a younger guy. Perform, I think, at my best when I was mid 20s, late 20s. And then as I was getting older and slower and heavier, I would try to pass on what I was doing,” Cherundolo said.

“That progression is something that’s extremely important to the national team scenario. And this group that’s coming through now will have so much experience towards the end of their careers that they can pass on to the younger generation, some of the guys that maybe I’m coaching now.”

___

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

___

Ciarán Fahey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cfaheyAP

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Switzerland's Wendy Holdener speeds down the course during an alpine ski, women's World Cup slalom,...
Associated Press

Shiffrin wins slalom, moves within 1 win of World Cup record

SPINDLERUV MLYN, Czech Republic (AP) — American skier Mikaela Shiffrin dominated a slalom Saturday for her 85th career victory to move within one of the World Cup record set by Swedish great Ingemar Stenmark in the 1980s. Shiffrin can match the best mark of 86 wins in another slalom Sunday. Shiffrin had shared the women’s […]
1 day ago
Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus waves as she holds the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Trophy after defeating El...
Associated Press

Sabalenka beats Rybakina for Australian Open women’s title

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The serves were big. So big. Other shots, too. The points were over quickly. So quickly: Seven of the first 13 were aces. And so it was immediately apparent in the Australian Open women’s final between Aryna Sabalenka and Elena Rybakina that the one who could manage to keep her serve […]
1 day ago
Vancouver Canucks' Elias Pettersson (40) scores against Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Joonas Korpisa...
Associated Press

Pettersson scores twice, Canucks beat Blue Jackets 5-2

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Elias Pettersson scored twice, Bo Horvat had a career-high four assists and the Vancouver Canucks beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-2 on Friday night for their second victory in three games under Rick Tocchet. Tocchet took over as coach after Bruce Boudreau was fired Sunday. Quinn Hughes had a goal […]
1 day ago
Calgary Flames defenseman Nikita Zadorov (16) is congratulated after scoring against the Seattle Kr...
Associated Press

Flames rebound with impressive 5-2 win over Kraken

SEATTLE (AP) — Tyler Toffoli and the Calgary Flames rebounded from one of their ugliest losses of the season and picked up an important two points in the Pacific Division before starting the All-Star break. Toffoli, Elias Lindholm and Blake Coleman each had a goal and two assists, and the Flames topped the Seattle Kraken […]
1 day ago
Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam (43) shoots against Golden State Warriors forward Jonathan Ku...
Associated Press

Curry’s 35 points send Warriors past Raptors, 129-117

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Stephen Curry had 35 points and 11 assists, and the Golden State Warriors beat the Toronto Raptors 129-117 on Friday night. The high-scoring affair was close until the Warriors pulled away with a 31-point fourth quarter, securing a sweep in the season series. “It feels like we took better care of […]
1 day ago
New Jersey Devils' Jack Hughes and Vitek Vanecek (41) celebrate after Hughes scored in overtime of ...
Associated Press

Hughes scores winner in OT to lead Devils past Stars 3-2

DALLAS (AP) — Jack Hughes scored his second goal of the game 20 seconds into overtime, lifting the New Jersey Devils to a 3-2 win over the Dallas Stars on Friday night. Hughes’ winning goal skipped off the stick of Dallas’ Tyler Seguin and eluded Jake Oettinger as the Devils rallied from a 2-0 deficit […]
1 day ago
Ex-defender Cherundolo positive about future of US team