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Chris Richards using USMNT as “outlet” despite lack of minutes at Crystal Palace


Chris Richards has made only six appearances for English Premier League side Crystal Palace since the start of the 2023-24 campaign, but even with limited playing time in South London, the American defender is keeping his head high.

Richards is one of four center backs called into the U.S. men’s national team squad for the upcoming CONCACAF Nations League quarterfinals against Trinidad & Tobago. The 23-year-old is joined by Tim Ream, Cameron Carter-Vickers, and Miles Robinson for the two-legged showdown in Austin, Texas and Port-of-Spain, Trinidad over the next week.

Minutes have been scarce again for Richards this season as he tries to navigate through his second campaign in England. Despite limited opportunities at Crystal Palace, Richards has started in each of the USMNT’s last four matches, helping the Americans register three shutout victories.

The Alabama native has had a tough go of late at Crystal Palace, but remains confident ahead of a pair of must-win matches.

“I know that when I’m coming here, it’s always good to get around these guys, but it’s also good to play with them and kind of use that as my outlet,” Richards said Tuesday in a press conference. “It keeps me going through the month knowing that hopefully I’ll get a game or two with the national team.”

Richards joined the Eagles in June 2022 after spending the prior few seasons with German giants Bayern Munich. After a leg injury forced him to miss most of the fall schedule, Richards returned to action over the winter and even started in a pair of matches against Manchester United, as well as a home showdown vs. Newcastle United.

Despite featuring only once over the final 15 league matches last season, Richards excelled in the Nations League Final Four, starting in victories over Mexico and Canada, while also scoring against the Canadians in the tournament final.

Gregg Berhalter has continued to trust Richards in the USMNT squad and the American defender knows brighter days could be ahead if he impresses during the November international break.

“At some points it can be challenging to keep your focus when you’re not playing week-in, week-out, and it’s even harder to keep your form,” Richards said. “I think I just use training as that way to keep form, even though some days can be tougher than others.

“Especially when you’re not playing some days, the training after the game kind of does your head in a little bit, but you have to realize that it’s a journey,” he added. “It’s not just what’s happening at the end of the week; it’s kind of the bigger picture.”


  1. Doesn’t understand how call ups work? Griezman got called up by France & Deschamps for 18 WC when he was extremely poor for Barca. John Stones & Kalvin Phillips continued to be called in by Southgate. Stones wasn’t playing in ‘17/18 and Phillips isn’t playing this season for City. Both have competed in WCs, Euros & NL. Emerson (LB), formerly Palmeri wasn’t playing for Chelsea after Mourinho got fired and Sarri was brought in. Transfered to Ligue 1 (I think) and wasn’t playing there either. Spizzanola got injured in the quarterfinals of Euro 22 and Emerson played in semi and final and Italy won. Hazard, De Bruyne, Lukaku, Alex Witsel (the most important Belgium piece) were all called in for WCs and Euro’s and NLs where they were coming off injury or minimal playing time. Arriola was called in by GB after one match for FCD returning from an ACL or Achilles injury after literally saying in an interview that club form is important for his selection. (Contradiction). CP wasn’t playing for Chelsea last season and did GB not includ him in the WC? Except 22 Winter WC, every World Cup is played in the European off season. (Vacqui has brought this up on several occasions). So that means all the worlds best players are out of form, period! Hence, the phrase “…teams grow into the tournament.” I could keep going; I think y’all get the point. If Messi was American, and given his current club form, would you not call him into the NL v T&T?

  2. Richards may be starting to look over his shoulder and see Austin Trusty earning quality minutes in the EPL this season. Callous are getting more competitive. It may well be time for a winter transfer, if there are worthy takers.

    • PN,

      Richards should be looking over his shoulder…and not just at Austin Trusty. There are other center backs that are playing at their respective club team, and playing well, while he is not.

      Call ups getting more competitive is EXACTLY what the USMNT needs. We need 3 LEGIT players / starters competing for each spot in the starting 11.

      Richards definitely needs to CONSIDER a transfer ASAP so that he can get playing time.

  3. I’m still at a loss why Crystal Palace would spend £20 million on a centerback only to park him on the bench. There are indeed teams in the Prem who can afford to spend £20 million like it’s pocket change…Palace is not one of them. Richards also has a salary of £2.8 million a year – ninth on the team (and more than current starting CB Marc Guehi!). They’re certainly paying him like a starter.

    The whole thing has left me scratching my head, especially since Richards can definitely play and the only thing Palace is doing by leaving him rotting on their bench is burning their own money for no return while dramatically lowering the sell-on value of an expensive player. Play the dude or sell him already.

    • Quozzel,

      Crystal Palace spent 20M pounds on Richards because that is what Patrick Vieira requested, but they did not park him on the bench…Richards got hurt. Now, Vieira is gone and there is a different coach ( Roy Hodgson ) and he prefers Guehl ( England international ) and Andersen ( Danish international ).

      Why does the majority of the American fan base think that because a USMNT player is rostered at a club team, they should be starting / playing? Shouldn’t the question be, “what has Richards done to EARN a start and / or playing time at Crystal Palace?

      Oh, and a player’s salary does not entitle them to start…it never has. For reference, see Christian Pulisic at Chelsea.

      • Good God stop with the strawman Eurosnobbery already and take a second to read what I wrote instead of putting words in my mouth I didn’t say. At no point did I say “Richards deserves to start”. All I was commenting on was that Palace burned a lot of money on Richards that they really don’t seem to have, and for some inexplicable reason haven’t sold him to recoup as much of that money as they can. Whether they start him or not is Palace’s business, but it is not and has never been good business to pay a guy starter’s wages only to play him 443 minutes in ’22-’23 and only 111 minutes thus far this season. So the question is: if they aren’t playing him, why aren’t they moving him? Richards’ value on Transfermrkt is down to just €10 million…Euros, not pounds, which is significantly less than half what Palace paid for him. That’s just burning money and usually bottom-half Prem clubs don’t do that because they can’t. Which is why I’m scratching my head. And it is clearly frustrating for Richards.

        Oh, and Pulisic was the 14th-highest paid player at Chelsea last year. He was not being paid starter’s wages (at least not by Chelsea’s standards) and in fact was being paid like exactly what he was being used as: one of the first-off-the-bench subs. But Chelsea absolutely can afford to do that, their combined payroll was £226 million last year even though that seems to have been some of the worst-spent money in recent memory. Palace’s payroll was less than a third that.

      • “Why does the majority of the American fan base think that because a USMNT player is rostered at a club team, they should be starting / playing?”

        1. Merit. Because the fans see that those players are Americans. Americans must be better than everyone else, right? Fairness. It’s not fair that the only reason they aren’t playing more is because they are Americans.

        2. Ratings. The majority of the American fans base grossly overate how good our guys are compared to players who play for other countries in 2023.

        A lot of people here are happy because the 2023 USMNT is “so much better than the 2014 USMNT.” Even if they are, who cares? Just let me know the next time Gregg’s boys play JK’s boys in a serious tournament, like Copa America or the 2026 World Cup. for anything.

        Richards is quite promising. 20M tells you that but in the EPL 20M, while not insignificant is not big deal money. There is an awful lot of money in the EPL sitting on their asses. Richards isn’t anywhere near some of those guys either in terms of money or accomplishment.

        Palace keeps him around almost certainly because even if he’s not starting and playing a lot he is good depth, which is very important in the EPL. By next season they may move him on but for now he’s an insurance policy.

        A lot of fans here look at the quality of a position as being down to one player, the particular individual who is the starter.

        But a lot of clubs look at a position as a collective effort. Point being Richards and his 20M contribute to the CB position at Palace because the starters see his quality everyday in training and , presumably, that keeps the two starters feet to the fire.

        Most managers would prefer to have that one dominant starter, a guy like Van Dijk before he got old, but those guys aren’t easy to find.

        The next best thing is a collective effort, even if the backup never plays. Get rid of Richards and the guys ahead of him, their heads swell and they get sloppy.

        Being an auto starter, an MB90, is only great if you can keep your standards up day in and day out, like Harry Kane. The USMNT has very few players with that kind of quality and consistency of performance. Hopefully, Pulisic will prove that this season. We already know Weston doesn’t have it. He needs to be under threat at all times and have that chip on his shoulder or he gets lazy. Just watch some of his USMNT games where he clearly doesn’t give a shit. Maybe he’ll finally develop the necessary consistency after this season.

        The best thing about Flo was that every other alleged #9 wannabe now knows the level they need to get to if they want to play for the USMNT. That made things a lot clearer for Pepi, Josh, Pefok, etc.

        We’ll see.

  4. this is one way we used to use the NT calls before mr. club form took over. we could separate out being talented from being stuck in an awkward spot and would try to keep our best players busy even if their teams didn’t.

    that being said he had a poor germany game and if the club issues start to consistently follow you across that’s when even the old US would put you on pause. this is one reason i am cranky with the xerox call sheet in the back is are we not acting like someone let us down last time.

    • IV,

      Talent alone doesn’t warrant a USMNT call up. Club playing time and club form is the foundation for USMNT call ups. Anyone who doesn’t recognize that, either doesn’t understand how call ups work, or doesn’t want to. Our USMNT player pool has grown and the number of those players plying their trade in Europe has increased significantly. Gone are the days when we had a USMNT player pool of 20 players, of which 3-5 were plying their trade in Europe, and that alone was enough to warrant a call up. Why do you not give credence to club playing time and club form?

      Awkward spot??…why is Richards’ current scenario at Palace an awkward spot? A coach brought him to Palace, that coach is no longer at Palace, the current coach at Palace prefers another two players in front of Richards ( both of who are also internationals ), so Richards either needs to step up his game and outperform the two incumbents or wake his agent up and get to packing come this January transfer window.

      I agree Richards was subpar vs Germany, so that performance, along with his lack of playing time at his club team, beckons the question, why is he being called in and not Trusty?

      • Papi, Trusty has just worked his way into the starting lineup. This is not a good time for him to be away from his club. There are a lot of US players have had their club status severely impacted by international duty, mostly through injury, but Horvath and Pulisic are two examples of players that had it impacted because their coach was pissed at them. If the US loses to TandT, it would have to be an entire team collapse not just that Trusty wasn’t there so not bringing him in is erring on the side of caution. While you may not agree with the decision and would do it differently if you were the coach, it isn’t like there is no rational explanation for his omission. Not necessarily you, but others are making similar complaints about Brooks, but his form took an untimely dump and he has been benched the last two games so now would also be a bad time for him to not be with his club.

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