Cherundolo up to tough tasks in South Africa

Veteran defender has shined so far for USMNT

JOHANNESBURG
– Steve Cherundolo hasn’t had it easy so far in this World Cup. The right back
has had some of the toughest defensive assignments on the US squad through two
games, and he has responded with strong play in both games.

Against
England, he neutralized James Milner so effectively, Fabio Capello lifted the
left winger for Shaun Wright-Phillips after just 31 minutes. And the diminutive
Manchester City speedster didn’t fare much better.

Against
Slovenia, Cherundolo slowed down speedy left winger Andraz Krim and supplied
Landon Donovan with the long ball that led to the Americans’ first goal in
their rally from a 2-0 deficit.

Now,
Cherundolo has another daunting assignment: the lethal left side of the
Algerian attack, especially overlapping left back Nadir Belhadj. And the
Rockville, Ill. native says he is prepared and ready for the Portsmouth
marauder.

“He’s
a physically talented player, he’s got good feet as well,” Cherundolo said from
US base camp on Monday. “So we’re aware of his strengths and also his
weaknesses.” 

Cherundolo
will also have to help out on Wolfsburg left winger Karim Ziani, whom he has
faced in German Bundesliga play.

“I’m
just trying to do my part, keep my section of the field clean, and try to avoid
any sort chances the opponent can create against us,” the Hannover deputy
captain said.

MLSsoccer.com managing editor Jonah Freedman
is reporting from South Africa all this month.