X

USMNT Watch: Cameron and Howard Star on Boxing Day in Premier League

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 27, 2015

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26:  Geoff Cameron of Stoke City battles for the ball with Ander Herrera of Manchester United during the Barclays Premier League match between Stoke City and Manchester United at Britannia Stadium on December 26, 2015 in Stoke on Trent, England.  (Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images)
Dave Thompson/Getty Images

There may not have been many Americans playing across the world this weekend, but the ones who were turned in key performances for their respective sides. 

During the busy Boxing Day slate of matches in the Premier League, Geoff Cameron and Tim Howard starred in victories by Stoke City and Everton

There was also plenty of news off the pitch this week concerning players in the United States men's national team talent pool, as a top defender was sold and a young goalkeeper accepted a surprise call-up to the January camp. 

Below is a recap of the top USMNT news from the past week in the latest USMNT Watch. 

Cameron and Howard Star on Boxing Day

Cameron helped open the 10-game slate on Boxing Day in the Premier League, as he played a key role in Stoke City's 2-0 win over Manchester United. The 30-year-old once again started in the defensive part of the midfield for the Potters. 

If Cameron continues to play in front of the back four, USMNT manager Jurgen Klinsmann might want to try moving him up the pitch at the international level. But given Cameron's success next to Matt Besler at the end of 2015, the Yanks need to find another standout performer in the middle of the defense before Cameron moves up the pitch.

Stoke City's US defender Geoff Cameron (L) vies with Manchester United's English midfielder Michael Carrick (R) during the English Premier League football match between Stoke City and Manchester United at the Britannia Stadium in Stoke-on-Trent, central E
PAUL ELLIS/Getty Images

Goalkeeper Tim Howard only made one save in Everton's 1-0 win over Newcastle United on Saturday, but it was an important denial. In the 76th minute, Howard leaped back into his goal to get in position, and his two-handed save preserved a clean sheet. He was rewarded with a win when Tom Cleverley scored the game-winner in stoppage time

NORWICH, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 12:  Tim Howard of Everton during the Premier League match between Norwich City and Everton at Carrow Road stadium on December 12, 2015 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)
Stephen Pond/Getty Images

Brad Guzan started in net for Aston Villa in their 1-1 draw with West Ham United at Villa Park. The draw moved the Villains within four points of 19th-place Sunderland. Villa visits Sunderland on January 2 in a match that could decide the club's fate. 

Speaking of Sunderland, DeAndre Yedlin was not in the 18 for the Black Cats' 4-1 defeat at the hands of Manchester City

Spector, Ream, Hyndman See Action in Championship

Down in the second tier of English football, a few USMNT-eligible players started for their respective sides on Boxing Day. 

Jonathan Spector, who was called in this fall as a full-back, started at center-back for Birmingham City in their 3-0 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday.

Tim Ream and Emerson Hyndman found their way into the Fulham starting 11 again Saturday. Ream didn't have a good day, as he scored an own goal in the 53rd minute of the Cottagers' 2-0 loss to Derby County

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 15:  Tim Ream of Fulham tries to tackle Ainsley Maitland-Miles of Ipswich during the Sky Bet Football League Championship match between Fulham and Ipswich Town at Craven Cottage  on December 15, 2015 in London, United Kingdom.
Ian Walton/Getty Images

Danny Williams also came out on the losing end of his match on Boxing Day, as Reading dropped a 1-0 result to Wolverhampton Wanderers

Duane Holmes and Cody Cropper did not feature for Huddersfield Town and MK Dons on Saturday. 

Omar Gonzalez Transfers to Pachuca

The LA Galaxy made plenty of noise Tuesday, when they sold USMNT center-back Omar Gonzalez to Club Pachuca in Liga MX. 

Oct 25, 2015; Kansas City, KS, USA; Los Angeles Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez (4) passes the ball during the second half of the match against Sporting KC at Sporting Park. Sporting KC won the match 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The move should help Gonzalez further his career as he attempts to get back into Klinsmann's starting 11 on a consistent basis. If he improves in Mexico in 2016, he could supplant Cameron next to Besler and allow Cameron to move into the defensive midfield. 

As for how this affects Gyasi Zardes and the USMNT contingent at the Galaxy, they will be going through a rebuilding process over the offseason, but expect the club to contend for the postseason once again. 

Jesse Gonzalez Reportedly Called into January Camp

USMNT fans received a surprising present on Thursday, as Goal.com's Ives Galarcep reported FC Dallas goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez accepted a call-up to the January camp. 

Nov 29, 2015; Dallas, TX, USA; FC Dallas goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez (44) in game action against the Portland Timbers in the second half of leg two of the Western Conference championship at Toyota Stadium. The matched ends in 2-2 draw. The Timbers advance o
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Bringing in the 20-year-old and securing a potential one-time switch from Mexico would be a major coup for Klinsmann. Gonzalez shined during the back end of the 2015 Major League Soccer season for FC Dallas before the club was eliminated by the Portland Timbers in the Western Conference final.

If Gonzalez decides to commit to the Yanks, he will have plenty of competition at the U23 level. Ethan Horvath, Zack Steffen and Cropper are just three of the top players at the position at the moment.

Joe Tansey covers U.S. Soccer for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter, @JTansey90