Geoff Cameron

U.S. national team in evolution; just look at the center backs


Jurgen Klinsmann was always going to be an instrument of change for the United States national team.

But to see the extent – perhaps more in personnel selection than in tactics, as we all suspected initially – it helps to take a step back. Only they can we truly gauge the scope of the roster Klinsmann-inspired churn.

In fact, if we can draw a tight circle around the center back position, the evolution is truly dizzying.

Consider for a moment what the United States depth chart looked like at center back about 14 months ago, around the time Klinsmann was settling into his first winter camp. That January (of 2012) Klinsmann was taking his first extended look at some of the younger players – including a couple of “discoveries” now forming the backbone of his team.

The center back depth chart of that time looked something like this:

  • 1. Carlos Bocanegra
  • 2. Oguchi Onyewu
  • 3. Clarence Goodson
  • 4. Michael Orozco Fiscal
  • 5. Tim Ream
  • 6. Jay DeMerit
  • 7. Michael Parkhurst

If we take a look at it now, the evolution over just 14 or so months turns that list into something unrecognizable.

Klinsmann says Carlos Bocanegra is not necessarily finished with the national team. But the former U.S. captain does turn 34 in May, and it would seem that only through injury would Klinsmann try to stuff ketchup back into the bottle on this one.

It may be conceivable that Onyewu could grind his way back into the mix – but it seems like a stretch. Given his limited playing time and even more limited passing ability, all parlayed with the coach’s disdain for center backs who feel most comfortable hoofing the ball forward, I wouldn’t wager a paycheck on it.

Tim Ream may as well be part of the witness protection program far as Klinsmann and his staff are concerned. And DeMerit, bless his heart, is out for a long, long time. It’s difficult to see a road back to the national team there.

Meanwhile, look where the center back depth chart has landed today. Three of the guys at the top weren’t even on the list 14 months ago.

With the caveat that this list is just a guess at what Klinsmann’s chart looks like, this will probably resemble the central defensive pecking order at next year’s World Cup. And how about them Brazilian apples?

  • 1. Omar Gonzalez
  • 2. Geoff Cameron (pictured above)
  • 3. Clarence Goodson
  • 4. Matt Besler
  • 5. Maurice Edu
  • 6. Carlos Bocanegra
  • 7. Michael Orozco Fiscal

Cisse arrested in sex tape investigation

Leave a comment

Former Liverpool striker Djibril Cisse is embroiled in a bizarre investigation into the extortion of a sex tape.

The 34-year-old French striker has been arrested by French police who have confirmed that are investigating attempts to bribe another international footballer.

[ MORE: Klinsmann sends Johnson home ]

Unconfirmed reports from France claim that the individual in question is France and Lyon midfielder Mathieu Valbuena, a former teammate of Cisse at both Marseille and with the French national team.

According to Reuters news agency, Cisse was questioned because he was familiar with the people involved and in total four individuals were arrested as it is alleged they plotted to ask for money from Valbuena for the sex tape to not be released. It is unclear if the tape is of Valbeuna and his partner Fanny Lafon, or if other individuals are involved.

[ MORE: Dust settles, questions remain for USMNT future ]

Cisse won the UEFA Champions League with Liverpool and scored 24 goals in 79 games during his three-year stay at Anfield until 2007. He also had spells with Sunderland and Queens Park Rangers in the Premier League, while he is currently out of contract after being released by Ligue 1 side Bastia following nine goals in 41 appearances. Cisse is due to appear on the French version of “Dancing with the Stars” in the coming months.

Further reports from France say that Cisse is expected to be “exonerated” and that the existence of the video is “not proven” at this point.

Agent: “There’s no hatred” between Bale, Ronaldo

Gareth Bale & Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid CF
Leave a comment

Gareth Bale doesn’t at all dislike Cristiano Ronaldo — or vice versa — despite what may seem a lukewarm on-field relationship between the two Real Madrid superstars, insists Jonathan Barnett, agent of Bale.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Instead, Barnett insists that the two men with very different personalities have a healthy relationship, and competition, that pushes each Galactico to be the best player he can be.

Barnett, on Bale’s relationship with Ronaldo — quotes from the Guardian:

“They don’t go out eating every night together, but it’s fine. There’s no hatred there. Gareth is a quiet guy. They’re complete opposites. But I think Gareth can learn a little bit from Ronaldo as well, interacting maybe a little bit. But he wants his own life and he lives it. Gareth is a great footballer, he doesn’t want anything more. He has some very good endorsements but his whole life is to be the best footballer in the world. I don’t think he wants to be the best model in the world or the best underwear seller. That’s not him.”

That’s a hilarious closing quote from Barnett, but he knows exactly how some folks are going to interpret it: “Bale thinks Ronaldo loves himself too much.”

[ MORE: Giroud: “I must harden myself” to unseat Walcott ]

There’s nothing better for the ultimate success of a team than healthy, friendly competition between teammates who are spectacularly talented as Ronaldo and Bale. The former will only be around to perform at his current level for so much longer, but at what point does the latter officially take the torch and supplant Madrid’s biggest star, and how accepting will he be of passing that proverbial torch?