SEATTLE – Geoff Cameron is a natural center back. He plays as a fullback for his club, Stoke City. And on Tuesday night he turned in a competent display in central midfield for the U.S. national team.
With Jermaine Jones not cleared to play against Panama, Jürgen Klinsmann turned to the versatile Cameron. The United States won, 2-0.
“Cameron did a tremendous job in the midfield, holding the ball for us,” DaMarcus Beasley said.
The 27-year-old even assisted Eddie Johnson's clinching goal with an exceptional 40-yard, defense-splitting ball.
“I saw Geoff had space and time on the ball, and it was on his strong foot,” Johnson said. “I knew if it was on his strong foot …”
Johnson finished the chance to move the United States to the top of the Hexagonal table.
Michael Bradley mentioned that one change Cameron's inclusion brought was more freedom for the Roma midfielder to push forward. When Jones and Bradley form the midfield tandem, they take turns surging into the attack and cover for each other. Cameron's strong suit, despite his sumptuous assist, is his bite in the tackle, leaving Bradley to orchestrate the attack, as he did to create the first goal.
“Tonight [Bradley] took over the game,” Brad Evans said. “Geoff next to him I thought was phenomenal tonight as well: won every second ball, was physical, connected his passes, the assist on Eddie's goal, winning the headers. They were both so good tonight and made our job easier on the back line.”
Klinsmann pointed out that he now has viable options for future injuries or yellow card suspensions. Jones should return for next week's match against Honduras. At this point, Klinsmann will pause before deciding to drop Cameron.
“We asked him to win a lot of balls back, cover the two center backs and have a strong presence in there,” Klinsmann said. “I don't know how many balls he recovered – he was constantly there.
“Then we asked him to play it simple, and he did that. I said once you get that ball just keep it simple. Find Michael Bradley. Find Clint (Dempsey). Find the players around them and cover our two center backs. It was a huge performance by Cameron.”
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