USMNT Daily Update: Who should partner Cameron in central defense?

GeoffCameronUSMNT (



Geoff Cameron may have only recently established himself as a starting centerback for the U.S. Men's National Team, but it is no longer a stretch to say that, right now, he is the national team's best centerback and a player who should remain a starter for a long time.

With that being said, the real question becomes just who will Jurgen Klinsmann partner with Cameron for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Antigua & Barbuda and Guatemala. Carlos Bocanerga and Clarence Goodson both started games against Jamaica in September, with different results (though the circumstances for each player were also different).

On one hand you have Goodson, a younger option, and arguably a more technical option, a better passer who is playing more regularly on the club side. On the other hand you have the stronger and more experienced Bocanegra, who is still better in the air and more of a threat on set pieces. He has faced tough matches on many more occasions than Goodson, and he is a different enough player that you can argue he complements Cameron better.

So who will Klinsmann turn to as Cameron's centerback partner? Let us consider the opposition they are set to face:

Antigua & Barbuda has some speed up top that can give the U.S. trouble on the counterattack, as we saw when Pete Byers toasted Oguchi Onyewu in the qualifier in Tampa in June. It is a safe bet that the faster and more athletic Cameron would likely be matched up against Antigua & Barbuda's best forward, which would leave the other American centerback to play the role of organizer as well as support for Cameron. Bocanegra handled this role fairly well against Jamaica in Columbus, and stood up to the few challenges Jamaica was able to mount.

Goodson didn't have quite as successful a turn against Jamaica, but he also had to face them in Kingston, in a game where the 'Reggae Boyz' had more of the ball and attacked more often. Goodson can be a steady centerback, but he can also get bullied. Of the matches remaining in qualifying, you could argue Antigua & Barbuda would be a better match-up for him than Guatemala, with the physical and tricky Carlos Ruiz.

If you are Jurgen Klinsmann, do you risk playing the 33-year-old Bocanegra in two straight qualifiers, or do you rest him for the first in Antigua before trotting him out in a home qualifier against Guatemala, where he will be rested and ready to neutralize a player he knows very well in Ruiz?

This is why we might see Klinsmann split the starts again. Guatemala could be playing for their lives, and might wind up needing a victory to advance, not quite the circumstances you want to put an older centerback who hasn't been playing regularly into.

That said, Klinsmann also has to know that a win against Antigua & Barbuda would leave the USA in great shape heading into the group finale in Kansas City. That makes starting he best possible lineup the ideal scenario for the Oct. 12th qualifier in the Caribbean.

So who do you start? Bocanegra or Goodson? If it were me, I would start the more experienced Bocanegra, who looked impressive in the win against Jamaica (and who also scored a goal against Antigua & Barbuda in the June meeting). Let the veteran start, and secure the win, then if he isn't able to go 90 against Guatemala you bring in Goodson.

When 2013 rolls around, and assuming the U.S. is in the Hexagonal, Klinsmann can begin to seriously question what role Bocanegra should still have at his age, but we saw against Jamaica last month that he can absolutely still play at a good enough level to stay on the field for matches as important as the ones coming up later this month.


What do you think? Who would you start against Antigua & Barbuda? Would you start Bocanegra in both qualifiers, or would you split the starts beween Bocanegra and Goodson?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in USMNT Daily Update. Bookmark the permalink.

140 Responses to USMNT Daily Update: Who should partner Cameron in central defense?

  1. Hans Solo says:

    Omar Gonzalez!!!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Gotta be Omar. Build for the future.

  3. soccerhorn says:

    Agreed. It was still only nine months ago that Omar was the obvious heir apparent to the CB position. Anybody notice how well the Galaxy have done since he’s been back? 8-1-1, that’s all. A year ago Cameron wasn’t even in the conversation. Come on. Omar still deserves a good long look.

  4. ben says:

    I say it has to be Boca. His experience in big games and organization and leadership on the field make up for his physical/technical shortcomings, in my opinion. Like Ives said, after these two games Klinsmann should start looking to the future a bit with his centerback situation, but for these must win qualifiers, the captain gets the nod. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, I can’t see any back line other than Johnson-Boca-Cameron-‘Dolo.

  5. PetedeLA says:

    What he said.

    On a side note, I’ve enjoyed some of these updates, but this one seems kind of obvious.

    Unless….Ives knows something we don’t.

    (SBI-Thanks Pete. And while it might seem obvious to some, Klinsmann just chose Goodson over Bocanegra last month in Kingston, so it can’t be assumed he will go with Bocanegra.)

  6. abc says:

    I can’t believe Goodson is even being mentioned. He needs to be a backup option at best.
    Ask anyone who actually watches the Danish league and they will tell you that he’s quite bad.
    What does he bring? He gets outmuscled like Ream. He’s slow like Onyewu and has a similar turning radius. All he provides is height.

  7. garbaggio says:

    Has the roster been announced for the 2 upcoming qualifiers? If not, when do we expect it?

  8. Spank says:

    I find it sad that we still fear a overweight, out of shape, past his prime Carlos Ruiz. I know he can still be lethal and I still root for him because of my Guatemalan heritage but c’mon USA! We should be able to handle these two teams with back up CBs!

    (SBI-Not sure Klinsmann or the USMNT “fear” Ruiz, but he’s a player who can still score goals, and is still one of the better forwards in CONCACAF. I doubt he’s a factor in Kansas City because I think the USA win that game handily, but if the defense slips up he can still make you pay.)

  9. Nick F says:

    As a Dynamo fan, I’m very pleased that Geoff has solidified his spot on the national team. I knew watching him throughout his time with the Dynamo that it was only a matter of time.

  10. Alan says:

    I’d like to second this – these USMNT Daily Updates are an oasis in the desert-like three weeks or so between qualifiers. Keep them coming!

  11. soccerroo says:

    I know Edu is not getting playing time yet at Stoke but might he be the best fit with Cameron. Iknow we want to discus players that are playing and everything but I wonder if with them at the same club and everything if they are not the best partnership. I think Boca will play one or both games but this is possibly the pairing of the near future.

  12. Dawsaw says:

    Just curious, has Beckerman or Jones ever played at CB?

  13. Bimmer_benz says:

    I agree Goodson is average and should only be considered a backup.

  14. Bimmer_benz says:

    No, the roster is announced Sunday afternoon.

  15. Darwin says:

    Boca’s still got it. From his comments about Lichaj, Klinsi already had his team for WCQ. We may have to wait until camp cupcake to see Omar.

  16. Bimmer_benz says:

    Edu should never be considered a CB.

  17. Bimmer_benz says:

    Jones played CB a few times last season at Schalke but Beckerman at CB would be a disaster he is too slow for the International game.

  18. Spank says:

    Ives, I hope you’re right about the US tearing it up in Kansas City but I most def agree that Ruiz can make a defense pay if they slip up. Mexico learned it the hard way in the 2011 Gold Cup when they had yet to concede a goal the whole tournament until they played Guatemala and Ruiz chipped the keeper for the first goal of the match.

  19. Bimmer_benz says:

    Omar Gonzalez had deserved a callup since last September now is his chance with Onyewu, Ream and Fiscal not even getting PT with their clubs right now, but I have a feeling the earliest we will see Omar is in November but most likely will be a January Camp Cupcake callup and that’s still in doubt because more than likely he will move to Europe in the winter transfer.

  20. boosted335 says:

    George John

    link to

    THE best American defender

    I’d also call in Omar. It’ll likely be that John and Omar will be partners eventually with Cameron playing Dmid

  21. fischy says:


  22. mikeandike says:

    it’s hard to understand that U.S. is ALWAYS so thin at center back, considering that since WC2010 the following have been considered as the 2014 solution at one time or another: Cameron (now), Boca (steady, experienced captain), Onyewu ( a solid season in Portugal), Ream (starting in EPL!), Gonzalez (going to Bundesliga on loan!), George (EPL transfer!), Edu (he looked good vs Mexico!), Goodson-well, he’s always been a 2nd string option… I guess Fiscal is the only one that hasn’t been really pushed by the fan base-yet Klinsi keeps trotting him out there…

    maybe it’ll be Cameron-Fiscal in 2014 (makes me shudder)

  23. garbaggio says:


  24. I JIK I RED BULLZ says:

    I have to go with Gonzalez. He will get his chance to play in Europe and he’s 6’5” that’s a beast plus he’s use to play the right side position which complaments Cameron playing left. Bocanegra is getting older let’s face it he probably won’t play in the World Cup. I like Goodson but I think we have better option. I would like Ream and John to get back on the flow because they have potential which can lead up to something big. Onyewu was good in the past he isn’t the same anymore he’s injury prone. Cherundolo is getting older by the minute we need to get younger and we have Lichaj for that position plus we might end up with Chandler later on plus having Johnson is huge and Castillo will be a decent backup choice. We have great defenders they just need chemistry to starting rolling.

  25. TomG says:

    Omar was never the obvious heir apparent. He was just one of several young CBs in the mix. Has he even had a cap to his name?

  26. jerp says:

    interesting to think about the long term with cameron and other us cbs given the versatility that he has shown. i think cb is his best position, but it is yet to be seen if he will develop there. of course other us cbs are just starting their peak development too, so who knows how things will go, but i think it would be awesome if a scenario like this plays out:


    Bradley Dempsey

    Shea Donovan



  27. Rlw2020 says:

    Well said. I thought the plan was to wait until January for a call up and hopefully become a regular during the hex but i dont see any issue with bring him in for a game this time around

  28. Da trufth says:

    Seb Hines

  29. Rlw2020 says:

    He and his club are in a terrible run this year but he has always played well for the US. If Cameron didnt catch on so well at Stoke i was thinking a goodson-boca pair would do well

  30. TomG says:

    Thanks Ives. Love the USMNT updates. I have to agree about Boca, but feel you’re selling CG a bit short in terms of his aerial prowess. CG can JUMP!!! I’d say he gets up higher than anyone on the team and he’s a big time weapon on set pieces. I might even put him ahead of Boca in that department as I don’t recall Boca skying quite as high as I remember in the past. Have to go Boca for the experience and consistency, though, especially since Big Geoff is still somewhat of a novice at CB. While I like Goodson, he’s more prone to the occasional howler than Boca. Boca’s positioning and consistency is essential and Cameron can learn just by watching him.

  31. Chris says:

    Throwing Tim Ream into the mix just because I can.

  32. Rlw2020 says:

    Is he healthy, never seems to be ready when call ups come around

  33. atd says:

    Brazil, Aug. 2010. Wasn’t great in that game, but he’s a much better player now.

  34. Shane says:

    Boca was amazing in Columbus v Jamaica

  35. atd says:

    Very much intrigued by the possibility of Jones at CB, but to my mind it only becomes a real option if Schalke decides to move him there.

  36. pooperscooper says:

    What has happened to his playing time at Bolton though? I feel like he hasn’t gotten off the bench in quite awhile.

  37. Chad says:


  38. Alex says:

    How come Besler isn’t being considered for long term options? I know he isn’t a big name player in a big market like Omar and LA, but seriously… watch him organize that SKC defense. Best in the league. People always talk about Gonzalez’s importance to last year’s LA line, but Besler is even more important to SKC this year IMO. Seriously, tell me the last time he was responsible for a goal. No, really, look it up. And he adds an offensive asset with his long throws. I’m looking forward to seeing him get called up for the January camp.

  39. Thomas says:

    Can someone please remind me when the last time Cameron played CB for his club team?

  40. chris_thebassplayer says:

    There is no margin for error, so you have to go with the experience and leadership that Boca provides. As far as long term, JK will give Mo a chance to make the team as a CB, but I’m not too excited about that… the player that should really be considered is Williams, especially since he is most likely behind MB and Jones for this cycle. Given an adequate amount of time to gel, at least a year, a Cameron/Williams could be as good as we could do for this cycle…solid defensive skills, vision, awareness, recovery speed and distribution.

  41. Jim says:

    Jamison Olave.

    Oh wait…

  42. Lost in Space says:

    For the next 2 WCQ I’d like to see something like the following:
    —–Dempsey———-Donovan——————-Bradley——————Zusi————————–D. Williams——————-

    After qualification into the Hex and into next year’s Gold Cup I’d like to see us try something along these lines:

    ————-D. Williams—————
    (Alt for Hines would be Gonzalez or John)
    Boyd for Jozy, Shea/Gyau for Dempsey, Gatt for Donovan.

  43. mike says:

    I think its pretty obvious Boca will start

  44. chris_thebassplayer says:

    Next cycle, I think Besler, Berry and Hedges have potential…also Packwood, Morales and Brooks. Omar owns the box in MLS, but I don’t believe his overall game translates well at the international level, especially for the vision JK has for the back four. Just my opinion, i would be more than happy to eat my words.

  45. 2tone says:

    Uhm he has played plenty of RB, and really Cameron has the soccer IQ to swtich over to CB. It’s not like he plays RB like a real RB. he plays RB like he is a CB.

  46. 2tone says:

    Uhm, it’s pretty obvious to me anyway that Cameron and Boca will be the pairing.

    If and when Hines makes his onetime swtich it will be interesting to see if Hines and Cameron will be the pairing of the near future.

  47. boosted335 says:

    oh yeah real tough to point out that elephant in here! lol seriously though I think this is a bigger issue than anyone wishes to believe.
    The fact is Cameron has the tools to be an awesome CB but this year at Houston showed he has yet A LOT to learn about the position.
    All we have to show that he’s capable is 60min vs Mexico and solid performances vs a couple of inferior Caribbean team who were unable to put any pressure on our backline.

    Its my opinion Cameron’s best position is in the midfield…stoke seems to think its either there or wingback. All I know for sure that its not CB (now) and will never be if he doesn’t get reps in at that position

  48. Alex says:

    John SHOULD have been called up ages ago. Can’t help but feel the boat has sailed, though.

  49. afgh says:

    Boca anf Cameron. Having Gooch and Goodson on the bench is good for depth. Next year id like to see more of Gonzalez, Ream and John

  50. afgh says:

    Goodson plays for the Liverpool of Denmark. Huge team with great history but have ubderperformed for 2yrs. Despite being captain he has sucked recently

  51. boosted335 says:

    lol has anyone calling for Seb Hines actually ever seen him play?

    Seems to me this is another Euro snob craze

    Previously on the Eurosnob report:

    Ream, despite a prolonged stinking up of the pitch he immediately became a USMNT “roster lock” here just by completing a transfer to Bolton

    John, Dominated MLS in 2010 yet nobody knew or cared about him until Blackburn made a bid. When the deal fell through, despite playing well, guess who name was nowhere to be seen until West Ham requested a loan. That deal didn’t materialize and now his name is again rarely to be found in discussions like this despite him putting in another DOY candidate worthy season with this hype cycle set to be repeated when he moves to England this winter on a free transfer..

    Ask yourself why!

    Are these players not the same players they were immediately before and after their names were linked or inked to a team in England?

  52. jerp says:

    nice. hopefully hines and chandler actually do play for the us. other interesting questions:

    – how will johnson’s progress go and how will lichaj’s development go?

    – who will develop on the wing across from (and maybe even in place of) donovan – shea, zusi, gatt, etc?

    – how far can bradley can take this team?

  53. primoone says:

    Hangeland? Subotic?

    I keeed..I keed.

  54. Old School says:

    I understand having athleticism at the CB position but moving Jones back there would be ridiculous.

    Jones has his detractors, fair or not, but aside from Bradley no other midfielder possesses the dual threat of defending and attacking that Jones brings to the table.

    Losing his tenacity in the middle wouldn’t be a step forward.

  55. Old School says:

    Tim Ream is garbage.

  56. boosted335 says:

    The best candidates at CB we have are John, Gonzalez, and Cameron.

    All three should be competing.

    Even if Klinnsman has no plans to play John or Gonzalez during qualifying because of their unfamiliarity with his “system”… wouldn’t it make sense to call them up and GET them familiar?! Even if that means they are left in the lockeroom learning about nutrition and German history while the rest of the team is on the training pitch 😉

    The only way we’re gonna determine the best pairing and get the BEST from the best pairing is by having the best competing against each other.
    It really doesn’t get simpler than that

  57. DCP says:

    i have been looking through old rosters to see who we have had in the pipeline at CB and we haven’t had any really promising prospects in ages. We have had a couple of blips on the radar and Cameron may be an exception to this statement, but we will see how he progresses. I thought it was bad enough having to watch a one-eyed or one-legged CB play alongside Boca at WC 2010, so even though I think players like John and Gonzales are overly hyped by Dallas and LA fans, I am all for bringing them in as well as any other US eligible player who has any semblance of international quality at this position.

  58. biatch says:

    John didnt pass the physical

  59. Atari2600 says:

    yeah John is now too old and out of form, facts underlined by his 1987 birth year and the mundane feats he performs in that link

  60. says:

    What i’m not sure about is how he’s somehow become “the guy” in central defense. Seems like not too long ago he was just a good MLS cb. Doesn’t exactly have a long nats resume either.

  61. Tim M. says:

    yup. being an fc dallas fan my natural inclination has always been to favor John to Gonzalez, but plain and simple, he’s just not getting minutes because of injury. That being the case Gonzalez is really the only one of the current young crop of CB’s that deserves a look.

    Austin Berry, Matt Hedges, and Matt Besler are all young players to mull over as well.

  62. Matt says:


  63. biff says:

    If Bocanegra is healthy, he will, of course, be starting both games, mostly like paired in the center with Cameron. But, interestingly, Cameron played as right back last weekend for Stoke and did a decent job and if he starts playing regularly as right back then Klinsmann would have very interesting defensive options next year, such as:


    As for Goodson, I am not going to be surprised if he is not called up by Klinsmann this weekend. He did not look good in Kingston on September 7, especially the pass he made directly to a Jamaican player. And it still has not been explained why US Soccer in its official match report is saying Goodson got a yellow card September 7 against Jamaica (and flew back to Denmark)…

    link to

    …while Concacaf in its official match report does not show Goodson getting a yellow card.

    link to

    It could be that Concacaf simply has made a mistake. But it also could be that Concacaf’s match report is correct and that there is a bigger story here. Would really be nice if a soccer reporter could expend a bit of energy and telephone Concacaf to clarify why it is not showing a yellow card for Goodson.

  64. Byrdman says:

    Disagree. That’s his future. His touch and distribution are not good enough for midfield, but would be adequate at cb. Plus hie is a strong on ball defender. He needs to learn the position, but I for one thinks its possible.

  65. Luke from CBus says:

    Did anyone catch the MLS 36 with Nagbe from this weekend? I’m digging the series. Anyone know if Nagbe is becoming naturalized? Not related to the backline choices, but it would be nice to see him with the Nats.

  66. PD says:

    I cry I cry…

    Seriously, it’s a shame JK can’t mend that fence.

  67. Dennis says:


    One thing that defenders must do is concentrate the whole 90 minutes plus. Ream has been too often caught not paying attention, either to attackers and sometimes even to his own passes. Maturity can help improve this, only time and Ream’s play, will tell.

  68. PD says:

    I think we’ll see Goodson and Boca platoon, with Cameron as the constant for the near term. That said, if Boca could play both matches he’d be my first choice. It seems like Cameron plays better with Boca on the field, and Boca has not lost a step at CB.

    Looking forward, Gonzalez and Ream need to be called, if for no other reason than to assess where Ream is at and to give Omar another way overdue runout. It’s a little alarming how thin we are in the position right now.

    Lastly, I’d be curious to know what anyone things about the possibility of JK being able to convince Subotic to make the switch back? I know that Rongen really messed that relationship up and perhaps enough time has passed that a fresh voice and new approach could mend that fence.

  69. David JS says:

    he’s applied for citizenship I believe, but only like 6 months ago. It’s a 5 year process, no exceptions (unlike most soccer crazed countries who want a player to be eligible for them), so I think he’s something like 4 years away from even being USMNT eligible.
    Disclaimer: all this info is my recollection of what I think I remember reading online somewhere, at some point. So yeah, if you’re really curious I’d try a Google search or two on it for more/better info.

  70. PD says:

    Gotta start somewhere and he’s shown more promise than a lot of more experienced NATS defenders as of late.

  71. Dennis says:

    Boca is a natural defender and has the soccer brain needed to marshall a defense. But, he is not getting any younger and speed was never his forte. His slowly eroding athleticism will one day trump his mental acumen, but not quite yet.
    Cameron is one of those rare young players with the mentality to be a solid central defender and he has the athleticism to carry out the task.
    Goodson is also getting older, I don’t think he plays as smart as Boca and he is not the quickest guy around, but he is tall and a capable defender against most opponents.
    Edu, well he looked good against Mexico, he is physically tough enough, I worry about distribution errors (they can be much more costly when committed by a CB than when by a midfielder.) I would be more comfortable if he were playing regulary at CB (or at all) for his club.
    The others, Ream still cannot get enough playing time.
    Since 100% concentration for 90+ is so important for a CB, it is hard to judge others whom I’ve not seen for at least several games. (A flashy forward can gain traction even playing ony 30 minutes per game, but a defender must be judged over several full games against quality opponents. Few of us have the time to watch a half-dozen different players in 5 or 6 games against strong attackers to make a good evaluation.)

  72. bizzy says:

    the Nordsjaelland vs. Chelsea game showed we have a very good option in defense….Parkhurst!! Before Nordsjaelland came undone between the 70th – 80th min they where down only 1-0, with their defense very solid and appeared to have Chelsea on the ropes, with Parkhurst actively involved on the flank. He was causing problems all game for Moses and Torres on the right(the reason the plays that lead to goals never came from his side), streaking down the flank to get involved in offense (for the full 90+ mins), calmly passing out the back, quality one touches with Okune in Defense(AGAINST CHELSEA)……if we can try Edu CB, then with his speed, composure and height, parkhurst deserves a shot at that position. The way he played and covered against Chelsea I have no doubt that he can convert from RB to RCB.

  73. bizzy says:

    ….Knowing Goodson is too weak, Gooch is no good(right now), Boca is getting up there in age, Ream gets beaten repetitively (ground/air doesnt matter), Gonzalez is good for MLS not USMNT…..what do you do Klinsmann???….what do you do????

  74. David JS says:

    yup, Parkhurst was the best player for Nordsjaelland by far. He was so involved in every meaningful attack and build up play, it was pretty sweet to watch. I’ve never seen him that comfortable in forward areas for the Nats. He doesn’t have the speed to blow by wingers or opposing fullbacks but his technical skill and clever little balls to create time and space were impressive and totally unfazed against the big boys of Chelsea. As a USMNT fan that hasn’t seen much of Parkhurst for Nordsjaelland (I haven’t ever actually seen a Danish League match at all actually) I was super, super impressed with him.

  75. DCP says:

    If Klinsmann wants Subotic back on the team, he will have to first convince FIFA to change their eligibility rules as he played for Serbi’s 2010 world cup team.

  76. Karl Schneider says:

    Boca will work in the short term, he was solid against Jamaica, and has unmatched leadership on the back. He’s still physically strong, with his insane workout regimen and is consistently starting and playing 90 in spain. Long term, Omar Gonzalez or Will Packwood or John Anthony Brooks looks like good partners for Cameron. Gonzalez is the pick of the crop in the MLS and has all the physical skills to be a WC player. He will grow in intelligence and steadily improve. He is in a good situation anchoring the defense for LA. I’d look for a transfer sometime next season. Packwood is getting consistent first time minutes with a high quality championship team Birmigham City. Thirdly John Anthony Brooks currently at Hertha is another youngster who is also getting first team minutes. Fabian has the LB position locked up. Parkhurst looked solid against Chelsea yesterday, despite the blowout score. My ideal back four for 2018:

    Johnson Packwood Cameron Parkhurst

  77. Mike Z says:

    I just wanted to add my name to the list of those who enjoy the the long form entries in the “USMNT Daily Update”. Keep them coming!

  78. Karl Schneider says:

    I think it said it’s two or three years for him because he is marrying a USA citizen. I don’t think he will be a major impact though. We have plenty of better wingers by 2015, including Gatt, Shea, and Gyua. I don’t think he’ll get a consistent spot though, however much I like him

  79. Karl Schneider says:

    Did you watch the game against Jamaica? Dolo looked outstanding, and is still playing in one of the greatest league in the world. He WILL start through 2014. If Gonzalez plays consistently and gets a transfer to europe like Cameron, we could see him paired along Boca. The only relacement could be Parkhurst for Dolo.

    Johnson Boca Cameron Dolo

  80. JJ says:

    Eddie Pope problem solved

  81. Eric says:


    Why not start Edu again back there? He clearly is down the pecking order in the center mid and is younger, faster and more athletic than Bocanegra or Goodson. Seems like we should be grooming him to play back there along side Cameron.

  82. biff says:

    yes, I did watch the game and I fully agree that Dolo was outstanding, worked great with Zusi. I am supporter of Dolo and was aware before the Jamaica matches that he was in fine club form with Hannover and I was touting him as a starter against Jamaica. So just want to make sure you know that my intent was not to bash Dolo and if he continues to hold at his current level I can see him playing through WC 2014 (assuming we qualify). However, Dolo is at an age where a lot of excellent players start slowing down and losing their previous starting positions to younger players. Plus, injuries can happen. It cannot be denied that Cameron is an exceptional player with a competitive fire to keep improving. So all I am saying is that if — and with Tony Pulis as coach of Stoke that is a big if — but if Cameron would become the regular right back for Stoke and excel as RB then it will open potential options for Klinsmann all along the back line and I get excited just thinking about what might be in the defensive pipeline.

  83. Powderhorn Pops says:


  84. malkin says:

    Danny Williams?

  85. Big Chil says:


  86. jerp says:

    i am with you and not close to giving up on ream. he is at the beginning of his development, and hopefully his lack of playing time is for acclimitization purposes that results in growth instead of regression

  87. jerp says:

    good points, but not sure we can put too much stock in where stoke thinks he is best based on their style of play

  88. Big Chil says:

    I think a more interesting and debatable question is going to be what’s the midfield in the next 2 games?

    I think we can afford to split playing time at multiple positions, and also, what formation, tactically? We lag in scoring with only one forward up top, but JK’s comfort zone seems to include 2 CDM’s (minimum :), making a 4-1-3-2 less likely, though.

  89. The Imperative Voice says:

    I think he showed what he had as a back in 2009 but the problem is that neither Kinnear nor Pulis have left him be in a particular spot on the field. He started out in Houston as a right back and played a lot of CAM and CDM. The latter two have continued at Stoke with some CB. Cameron is a natural athlete and soccer player, but the experience of playing a particular spot every week — that you then play internationally — is invaluable. You learn the little things, positioning, ball-winning tricks, patience. That he’s emerged despite all this is a testament to natural talent and suitability, which could be compared favorably to someone like Edu who hasn’t transitioned from spot to spot as smoothly.

  90. The Imperative Voice says:

    Slow? I don’t think he’s any slower than Cameron, and he’s certainly faster and probably even more tenacious than Goodson, Parkhurst, Gooch, or a number of other candidates.

    And while I think he should be the starting CDM, there are a lot of players there, and if he’s versatile enough to play elsewhere also, keep it in mind. No sense in wasting the excess CDM talent because a few decent players won’t emerge from that fracas.

  91. The Imperative Voice says:

    I don’t expect to see Gonzo until Camp Cupcake because (a) he’s got just a few months of soccer in and (b) you don’t risk big qualis on an unknown quantity. I assume we’ll sink or swim with one out of Goodson, Boca, or Edu. Because they’ve played there lately. You don’t give a runout to a rehabbed player in qualis.

  92. Brain Guy says:

    For these two matches, Bocanegra’s experience and steadiness make this an easy call. In the longer run, though — perhaps even for the Hex — his age, and the need to groom someone for WC 2014, make it a much tougher call. For now, though, Bocanegra and Cameron give you a great combination of experience and youth.

  93. The Imperative Voice says:

    I think maybe if John endured a Camp Cupcake and appeared fully committed — reference Chandler situation, we don’t need to multiply that right now — he could get in the mix. But as with Gonzo or anyone else who’s not played for us lately, I don’t think we just plop them out there for a quali and wish ourselves good luck. For good or ill you run out the tested players.

  94. The Imperative Voice says:

    Gooch looked awful against Antigua. Antigua!

    Ream is in the Championship not the EPL.

    Gonzo hurt his knee on loan and is just now getting back.

    George trialed around England and yet currently draws paychecks in Dallas.

  95. The Imperative Voice says:

    Recognizing we are all grasping at straws, throw out a few random names here:

    Zak Whitbread? Not sure how much he’s playing or how well.

    Jay DeMerit? Ditto. I mean, he was once a mainstay.

    Aurelien Collin? Know he’s French but maybe there’s some way of making that happen. Rather have that than John or Gonzo or a lot of the other MLS suggestions.

  96. Ceez says:

    Remember the days when Chad Marshall was pretty relevant in this conversation?


  97. Vic says:

    Klinnsmann should look at these players NEXT year: Will Packwood, George John, Omar Gonzales and John Anthony Brooks.

  98. Felix says:

    Bocanegra until someone steps up and solidifies themself as the heir apparent.
    Bocanegra and Cameron are by far the two best centerbacks in the pool and compliment each other.
    I understand everyone wants to see someone younger than Boca out there, but no one is close to being good enough to handle the unique rigors of CONCACAF qualifying.

  99. bizzy says:

    I was very very impressed too

  100. bizzy says:

    I have never seen Packwood play….but apart from him I like that back line

  101. Louis Z says:

    Edu’s future at national level IS the CB position. He is tall enough at 6’1 and very fast, faster than both BOCA and Cameron. Too bad he doesn’t get the playing time at club.

  102. louis z says:

    He hasn’t for his current club. but neither some national CBs that play DM for their clubs. I think Cameron will be just fine.

  103. Chris says:

    This might be the worst story ive ever read. Since when is cameron a no-brainer in center defense? Hes not that great, hes a good player but not an automatic starter. Also with his club hes played holding mid and right back, and a stunning total of 0 games at cb. I wouldnt like to see the USMNT start cameron when he hasnt played cb since the last qualifiers. Furthermore, I think gonzalez, john, and ream are very good cbs, even demerit to be honest. I would expect to see bocanegra and goodson start at cbs in antigua.

  104. PD says:

    So the one time switch doesn’t apply? I thought he never capped as a senior US player and don’t really know the ins and outs of the switch rule…

  105. Joseph D'Hippolito says:

    It’s taken this long for somebody to mention Parkhurst? He’s a far, far better option than either Ream (not yet good enough for international level) or Gonzalez (not enough international experience). Besides, Bocanegra is getting older and might not be around for 2014. Start grooming Parkhurst *now* for 2014.

  106. pd says:

    De Merit will live in NATS folklore for years for his amazing run in 2010, but if you are rating him higher than Cameron right now I simply don’t know how to respond to you, for you must be a bit unhinged.

  107. Falsify says:

    If we don’t find a good CB within a few years Aurelian Collin might be available ><

  108. ben says:

    Yeah, the one time switch only applies if the player hasn’t played any official, Fifa recognized ‘A’ competitions. Subotic played for Serbia in the WC, so he’s locked in for good. Jermaine Jones, for example, was able to file his one time switch because he had only played in friendlies for Germany.

  109. ed - houston says:

    LOL don’t make me laugh… plus, he snubbed the Nats already…. i would not call him ever… unless he is tearing it uip like last year ….

  110. Bird says:

    Agreed, I thought Edu and Cameron looked good against Mexico. Give him another run out there especially with Danny Williams coming on now and MB coming back, the midfield is stacked. Run edu and cameron for the Antigua match and then Boca or Goodson vs Guatemala to deal with Carlos “The Fish” Ruiz’s shenanigans.

  111. kevin says:

    Cameron is our best CB right now, no doubt

  112. bizzy says:

    We have defenders proving themselves everyday but no one seems to notice because of the fact that we are fixed on regulars….Goodman, Gooch, Gonzalez, Orozco etc
    Demerit put forth a man of the match performance with MLS allstars at centerback, one of the reasons Allstars won that game……
    Parkhurst put on an excellent performance with Nordsjaelland vs chelsea at RB, confident and composed in the back….
    Frank Simek has been in league 1 and playing full time regularly…..(if we can pick from MLS, we can select from league 1 in the EL for at least our camp)
    The”new” Tim Ream…..Bolton (hey you never know until you try it…again….he’s getting professional training and besides thats why it’s called camp)
    How about someone from the defense that has allowed the least amount of Goals Against in MLS Matt Besler and lawrence Olum….(Olum is Kenyan)
    We need to start thinking outside the Box….especially since our “box” is not that big

  113. kevin says:

    In other USMNT news, Aron Johansson got called up by Iceland today for their next qualifiers; was expected so not a big loss

  114. bizzy says:

    yes..yes..yes. I think what hurts him is the Danish league reputation, a point/fact that people seem to have that is totally wrong because it’s a stronger, more technical and better league than MLS,and the fact that people dont watch him on a regular, but the USMNT needs a player like Parkhurst

  115. AMPhibian says:

    although edu should be considered, he can make very rash tackles. i’m not sure i want him in a position where he’ll be spending more time in our box.

  116. ANM says:

    Unquestionably Bocanegra for a reason not yet mentioned (I think). The man can score goals off set pieces. He has excellent production for a defender. We’re going to get a lot of those set pieces in both games and he can make them count.

  117. NC Jeff says:

    Coaches liking consistency is why I say he’ll do the same thing again … Goodson on 10/12 and Boca. on 10/16.

  118. Old School says:

    I need to see more.

  119. bryan says:

    In response to each of the above. He shouldn’t and probably won’t get a call up because he can’t even get minutes with Stoke. So it’s beside the point to discuss him right now.

  120. bryan says:

    dude, he was being sarcastic and pointing out those were all things USMNT fans said at some point in regards to each of those players.

  121. bryan says:

    i agree it has to be Boca. my 23 (yes, i’m taking it there), i’m including two defenders that won’t likely be there though, i bet you can guess who:

    GK: Howard, Guzan
    D: Johnson, Chandler, Lichaj, Parkhurst, Dolo, Cameron, Boca, Goodson, Spector
    M: Zusi, LD, Jones, Bradley, Williams, Corona, Dempsey, Shea, Torres
    F: Jozy, Boyd, Gomez

    personally, I don’t think Edu, Beckerman, Fiscal, or another keeper should be called in. the chances of that actually happening? slim to none. i think it’s pretty obvious Lichaj won’t get a call and who knows about Chandler. if those two are out, i think JK will have Edu and Beckerman for sure. i didn’t even bother listing Kljestan because JK isn’t going to call him. people can complain about Spector but he’ll be there because he plays 90 minutes and is versatile. Omar needs to stay with LA and just finish out the year and get called in November. my main dude Gooch just isn’t getting any love in Spain, so obvious no. Mix and Bedoya would be interesting call ups. I highly doubt either will get the call though. Same goes with Beasley, but he probably has a better chance than those two.

  122. euroman says:

    This is fun subject to talk about but only the voice that counts has already decided this one. JK left Boca home against Mexico, didn’t start him against A&B and even used an excuse about club playing time no one beleived. Goodson would have certainlty started in the second Jamaica match if he were available because he & Cam gave up nothing in Kingston. Tim is the new captain and it’s Goodson & Cam in the middle….all done, nothing else to see here.

  123. GW says:

    “With that being said, the real question becomes just who will Jurgen Klinsmann partner with Cameron for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Antigua & Barbuda and Guatemala. …

    So who will Klinsmann turn to as Cameron’s center back partner? “

    Klinsmann just recently said he wasn’t experimenting during these qualifiers so other than an occasional exceptional situation (i.e. Gatt) he’s not going to call in Gonzalez, John, Hines, Eddie Pope, Alexi Lalas, Marcelo Balboa or anyone else who has not been part of the recent mix at this point.

    Nor should he especially at center back, just about the worst place to slot in a newbie in a World Cup Qualifier.

    That means most likely Boca starts both with Goodson, Parkhurst and Edu as backup/alternate starter options. The only other candidates might be shifting one of the midfielders such as Jones or Beckerman, though that seems unlikely. It’s amusing that people disqualify Beckerman on grounds of his speediness or lack thereof, as if Boca was a burner. If you look at the semifinalists for the World Cup final they all had variations of the mobile CB + savvy vet/ cerebral CB pairing ( example mobile Pique, the Spanish Cameron, and savvy vet/ cerebral Puyol ( with two arms).

    Cameron is the mobile guy.

  124. GW says:

    “George John

    link to

    THE best American defender”

    ?? Since he has never played for the US and hasn’t really even been in camp John does not deserve that title.

    You might as well give it to Brede Hangeland.

    There is no evidence that John will do well with a group of guys he doesn’t even seem all that interested in training with.

    His performances for Dallas are evidence he MIGHT do well with the US but until he actually bothers to show up, the US has plenty of alternatives who are actually interested in the USMNT for real.

  125. GW says:

    It should be pretty clear to everyone that JK favors versatile players. This is the guy who played Torres at left back ( and I was betting JK was going to move Cameron to left back for that game, Edu at center back, Fabian at right back and Danny Williams on the right wing,after all.

    JK is well aware of how versatile Cameron is since Cameron did this Swiss army knife stuff at Houston. It’s good for an emergency but I can’t see JK playing Cameron anywhere but center back.

    The USMNT has been looking for a Gooch replacement for a while now and JK needs stability in his back four.

    JK will be looking, of course, for qualified back ups or replacements,particularly for the older Dolo and Boca, but absent that, Johnson, Cameron, Boca and Dolo are JK’s preferred starters and that is how they will line up in the World Cup if we make it.

    If JK wants to convert a center back to right back he can do that with Parkhurst who probably has a lot more experience at right back than Cameron and is probably better at it. And he also has Edu to do the Swiss army knife business.

    I’m sure it’s a lot of fun for fans to be moving these guys all over the place but stability at some level is necesary to promote the kind of teamwork and cohesion this edition of the USMNT still lacks, especially in defense.

    Cameron has been great but he is still quite inexperienced internationally and it shows.
    Having said that, the plus side of playing midfield is it is a great way to increase Cameron’s soccer IQ under pressure. By playing midfield he has a much better idea of how the entire team works, where everyone is supposed to be and so on. I’m sure he is learning a lot.

    Still, it would probably be best for the USMNT and easier on Cameron if JK just told him:” You.Center back,left side,go!”

  126. chris says:

    thats kinda sad saying im not quite sure if he is a cb, i was really impressed with him against arsenal playing the holding mid, i would kinda like him to play where williams did against jamaica

  127. Bimmer_benz says:

    Have you even seen Seb Hines play? He gets injured way too much.

  128. Bimmer_benz says:

    Ummm John is no way America’s best defender what a crappy video!

  129. GW says:

    When you marrying an American, it’s three years but because of the built in waiting periods it still comes out to nearly four years.

    How old is Nagbe? If he ever gets his citizenship he’ll be focused on 2018.

  130. GW says:

    Have you actually seen Packwood play and if so could you explain why you are so high on him for those of us who have not seen him?

    And if you haven’t seen him play could you explain why you are so high on him?

  131. GW says:

    Actually it is the other way around.

    These guys need to make a splash and give the USMNT a reason to look at them.

    For a variety of reasons, where they are now has not been reason enough for them to get a call so far. Therefore, they should be doing things that tells JK they are trying to improve and trying to make an impression. It is a “what have you done for me lately” kind of thing.

    Believe it or not the US will be just fine without all four of those guys so it is up to them to show why the US would be even better with them.

  132. GW says:

    You may be right about Cameron but he is the best of what is available right now.

    Name me who you had in mind that you can prove is a better option? The others got hurt (Gonzo), or lost form ( Ream) or where more interested in a transfer at the time (John).

    Whatever the reason, Cameron was who was left standing and he has done well. I love Jay and he is a superior man marker to Cameron and a more uncompromising defender.

    If you were going to put ten men behind the ball and put two banks of four in front of the US goal then Jay is your man.

    Unfortunately, he is not that fast anymore or mobile and he is not very good either on the ball or passing it. Boca is already fairly immobile. The US can’t afford two statues in center of the defense. Jay at his best is Gooch-lite and we already have phased Gooch out.

    JK wants defenders who are more than defensive specialists so Cameron wins that battle. He fits in better with what the team is doing.

  133. Thomas says:

    I would like to see this roster:
    GK T.Howard
    RB G.Cameron
    RCB J.Jones
    LCB C.Bocanegra
    LB F.Johnson
    RDM D.Williams
    LDM M.Bradley
    RAM L.Donovan
    CAM C.Dempsey
    LAM G.Zusi
    ST H.Gomez

  134. bluehen95 says:

    Why exactly has Cameron been anointed an automatic starter? What happened to the Goodson-Bocanegra partnership? I’m still not all that confident in Cameron.

  135. beachbum says:

    such a great post. thanks

  136. beachbum says:

    Omar is the best aerial threat I’ve ever seen as an American, along with his other developing skills. The air dominator does not grow on trees, very unique skill set Omar has, growing distribution game. He needs to stay healthy so the rest can happen. Is the perfect replacement for Boca, with upside much higher

  137. beachbum says:

    Gonzo…some day soon enough I hope

  138. Murph says:

    Goodson – Omar in the future and Parkhurst at right back if Callenor not in the squad – MP brings versatility as he runs the wing back attack and is great crosser of the ball and is a natural center back.