Why Geoff Cameron Was the U.S. Star Player Against Panama
On a night with plenty of positive performances for the U.S., Geoff Cameron stood out in comparison to his teammates.
The U.S. ran out 2-0 winners over Panama on Tuesday, putting themselves in first place in the last round of 2014 World Cup qualifying in CONCACAF. A clean sheet, some nice attacking phases and three points were all positives for the U.S. side on the night—as was Cameron's performance.
With Jermaine Jones out of the game due to a concussion, Cameron had a good chance to make a solid claim for a starting spot. He did that with a performance that surprised plenty, including NBC analyst Robbie Mustoe.
Performance of Geoff Cameron above & beyond expectations. Top man out there so far. Mark Hughes take note - midfield man?? #USAvPAN— Robbie Mustoe (@robbiemustoe) June 12, 2013
While the Stoke City player is on the squad for his versatility, he showed exactly what he could bring to the table.
Cameron was involved in everything good for the U.S. on both ends of the pitch. He sat back, defended well when called upon and allowed his partner, Michael Bradley, the freedom to dictate the game for his side.
He was involved in both goals, nullifying a Panama attack before sending Bradley on his way to the Panama half, and bagging an assist that would have made Andrea Pirlo proud.
Cameron may not display the same energetic, all-action game as Jones, but his calm play was exactly what the side needed on the night. He was tidy in possession, rarely losing the ball, and provided outlets all over the pitch for his teammates.
He may even have gotten himself on the score-sheet with a header from almost 20 yards out that ended up in the hands of the Panama goalkeeper.
Some of his other teammates made their own statements.
DaMarcus Beasley continued to look good as a left-back, mixing defensive solidity with an attacking energy that almost produced a goal.
What should Jurgen Klinsmann do to decide on his midfield duo?
Bradley controlled the game and drove forward to create when necessary, as was evident with the first goal.
Jozy Altidore continued his great form with a goal and made a nuisance of himself for Panama's central defenders in the process.
At the back, Omar Gonzalez, Matt Besler and Tim Howard endured relatively quiet games because of Cameron's preference to stay back more.
While it may be bit too early to say considering it's only one game, Cameron may be the missing link in midfield for Jurgen Klinsmann.
Unlike with Jones, Bradley seemed more relaxed with Cameron partnering him. The Schalke midfielder's style of play means he likes to be around the ball a bit more, but Cameron was quite comfortable allowing Bradley to do what he's set out there to do, dictate the play.
That helped the U.S. attack show some of the fluidity that's been missing in the past, with Bradley pulling the strings. In short, Cameron was the man of the match.
The team as a whole put forward one of their best performances of the campaign so far, and there's no doubting that the former Houston Dynamo man played a part in that.
Jones may be back in time for the next qualifier against Honduras, but fans may question whether he should start after this.
One fan certainly believes a change should take place.
@shinguardian Geoff Cameron should be starting in the center of the park over Jones. Not sure Klinsy can/will pull that trigger, though.— EA_Jorge (@EA_Jorge) June 12, 2013
Geoff Cameron turned a lot of heads tonight.
Whether he'll be a competitor for a starting spot or return to his Swiss Army Knife duties remains to be seen, but Cameron was the star man for the U.S. Men's side for at least one night.
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