Is USMNT star Chris Richards no longer a defender? Man of the Match performance put in for Crystal Palace when filling unexpected role


United States international Chris Richards may be about to change position for club and country, with the natural defender being moved up the field.

The 23-year-old has forged his reputation as a centre-half, allowing him to spend time with FC Dallas, Bayern Munich and Crystal Palace. He has earned 14 caps for the USMNT in a defensive berth, but is being nudged into midfield by Eagles boss Roy Hodgson and put in a Man of the Match performance during a 1-1 Premier League draw with West Ham.

Richards has told Palace’s official website of filling an expected role – in what was just his sixth start in the English top-flight: “I wasn’t expecting it, but I just want to be on the pitch – so whatever it takes! It was something! It was a bit more defensive than anything, so I enjoyed that aspect, but I just liked being on the pitch and getting a point. There’s a bit of similarity [to centre-back]. I’m just not used to the ball going over my head like that, so that was something that took a bit of getting used to, but I enjoyed it. I was kind of surprised to play it, but I feel like I did pretty well.”

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Richards was deployed in midfield after seeing Jeffrey Schlupp withdrawn from the Palace squad due to personal reasons. He completed the second-most tackles (five), interceptions (two) and clearances (four) of any player on the pitch and said on social media of being recognised as the Eagles’ star performer: “Proud to be voted yalls man of the match yesterday. Let’s get the 3 points on Wednesday.”


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