Chris Schuler has been, as they say, solid as a rock for Real Salt Lake. Not one of those particularly porous rocks, either.
Chris Schuler isn't pumice. He isn't sandstone, either — he's not going to just get scraped off with the slightest brush of the shoulder.
That's all somewhat remarkable, given the preponderance of injury concerns that have plagued his career to this point. Those bone concerns have faded somewhat, and part of that has been down to the management of injuries — and a surgery during the offseason that ruled him out of a United States Men's National Team camp in January.
But the U.S. has a friendly against Czech Republic coming up, and maybe it's time that Chris Schuler is handed his first cap for his country. He'd probably miss the match immediately following, were he to be involved. He's been treated with a bit of caution, but certainly not kid gloves. It's been to our advantage to have him available.
It's hard to argue against the notion that he's been one of the most consistent and highest-quality defenders in MLS. When we look at individual breakdowns in defense, Schuler has been remarkably uninvolved in problem moments. He's stepped up his approach — he's better pushing forward — and he's shown speed that we never knew he had. He's even scored a couple important goals along the way.
We know Chris Schuler isn't perfect. He's only starting to have his first real full season in MLS, and it's not over yet. But when you look around MLS at potential center backs for the Americans, he's high on the list. We're sure Jurgen Klinsmann thinks so, too.
With preparations for the next World Cup cycle starting in earnest, Klinsmann should be looking at Schuler (soon to be 27 years old) as a defender that will be at or close to his peak in 2018. Maybe we've just started to climb that peak with Schuler.