How Geoff Cameron’s performance against Panama affects Stoke City

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The U.S. player who’s performance against Panama may have the greatest impact into their future undoubtedly was Geoff Cameron.

The Stoke City defender could have earned himself a new role in the Premier League next season as the club looks for a new identity and new results under recently hired manager Mark Hughes.

Plenty has already been discussed about Geoff Cameron’s performance last night in holding midfield in place of the injured Jermaine Jones.  With the regular starter having suffered a concussion in Jamaica, Cameron was called into action.

The 27-year-old Bostonian is already known for his versatility.  He’s used mainly as a right back at the club level, and Tony Pulis signed him with the intent of giving some flexibility to his back line.  However, the position of right back is new to Cameron, and he’s had to learn the skill while applying it at the same time in Stoke.  He’s played left back there on occasion as well, attempting to translate the skills to the opposite side of the pitch.

In an interview back in October, Cameron admitted it was a work in progress with Stoke. “I’m not used to playing right-back, but over the last couple of weeks I have been watching videos and trying to learn. The timing is different from playing centre-back or centre midfield because there are different angles and also different ways you have to step up or drop off. Also, on the right, you have more of a relationship with the guy in front of you. That’s what I have been working on over the last few weeks and I think I am getting more comfortable.”

At the international level, Cameron has been often utilized by Jurgen Klinsmann at center back, which is his original and most comfortable position.  He was, however, eaten alive in the friendly against Belgium, and subsequently found himself looking on from the bench in the historic win against Germany as Klinsmann mixed and matched to find the right combination in defense.

Fast-forward to Tuesday night. With Jones injured, Klinsmann slotted Cameron into the holding midfield, a masterstroke looking back.  The move not only allowed Michael Bradley to move up into the attack, but utilized Cameron’s skills with the long ball so often seen at Stoke.  In defense, Cameron provided superb cover for the back line, and excelled at halting Panama’s buildup before it even began.

Although the short passing began extremely sloppy on his part, that ability with the long ball translated directly to a goal as the United States grabbed a vital second just 10 minutes into the second half.  Cameron blasted a ball from the mid line all the way up to Eddie Johnson who had found space on the right flank behind the defense, and the striker cooly finished in front of his home fans.

So what does this mean for Cameron at Stoke? It will be interesting to see how Klinsmann uses Cameron now that Jones will most likely return next week against Honduras. But either way, Mark Hughes can take solace in the fact that Cameron clearly has the skill set to play a holding midfield role, with the innate ability to see buildups before they happen, and shut the door.

The use of Cameron at the Britannia could see players like Charlie Adam and Steve N’zonzi move forward, much in the same way Bradley was able to do against Panama.  At the moment he’ll have to compete with the likes of Glenn Whelan and Wilson Palacios for the spot, but it’s no guarantee who will be around and who won’t after Mark Hughes finishes making the squad his own.  Therefore, performances like this in a tough CONCACAF hexagonal bracket can go a long way into helping Cameron not only challenge for a spot but cement one.

And the beautiful long ball doesn’t hurt at Stoke either.

Barcelona’s Twitter hacked to claim Di Maria signing

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FC Barcelona had eyeballs popping across the Twitterverse for a solid 90 seconds there.

La Liga’s giants Tweeted out a welcome to Angel Di Maria, the current PSG and former Real Madrid star, with the hashtag #DiMariaFCB.

[ MORE: EFL Cup Tues. wrap ]

It was an odd Tweet for 4 a.m. local time, as humourously pointed out by our Andy Edwards, and the hackers were quick to claim credit before any Tweets could be deleted.

So if someone tells you Angel Di Maria is the latest member of Barcelona, be sure to stop the spread of fake news.

On a day where Barca’s reportedly ready to up their bid for Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho, something tells us someone at the Camp Nou is turning over their keys to the club’s social media.

Rescheduled Yankees game moves NYCFC-Houston to Connecticut

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A rescheduled New York Yankees game is moving New York City FC to Connecticut.

Relax, it’s only for a day.

NYCFC will entertain the Houston Dynamo at Rentschler Field at 3 p.m. on Sept. 23 instead of their regular home of Yankee Stadium.

[ MORE: EFL Cup Tues. wrap ]

The club will offer tickets to another match to current ticket holders, and will also discount tickets to the game in East Hartford for fans who hold tickets to the Yankee Stadium game and want to travel for the Dynamo match (More info here, if you are in either of those camps).

This is the third of three scheduled seasons NYCFC will play at Yankee Stadium, and it doesn’t look like it’ll find a new home any time soon.

Given the everyday nature of Major League Baseball, it’s surprising there have not been more conflicts for NYCFC. We just remain hopeful for the day we can watch NYC’s star-studded roster play on a bigger home field.

“Injustice.” “Incomprehensible.” Ronaldo again protests suspension

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The five-game suspension Cristiano Ronaldo received for making contact with an official is not sitting well with the forward.

Better put: it’s still not sitting well.

Six days ago, Ronaldo took to Instagram to say he was being persecuted after his red card in the Spanish Super Cup.

[ MORE: EFL Cup Tues. wrap ]

Tuesday afternoon, he kept up the strong words by saying the suspension is “incomprehensible” and “an injustice.”

Roughly translated, Ronaldo posted, “One more incomprehensible decision. From injustice to injustive, they will never overcome me. And as always I will come back stronger. Thank you to all who have supported me.”

We’ll say this: He’s a really good soccer player.

Barca to offer Liverpool $176M for Coutinho

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Barcelona is insane.

Desperate following a rough two-legged loss to Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup, the Blaugranas are reportedly ready to offer $176 million to Liverpool for Philippe Coutinho.

Read it again: $176 million for Philippe Coutinho. It’s about $126 million with $12 million more when Barca clinches a UCL spot over the next four seasons (which they have done every year since finishing sixth in 2002-03).

[ MORE: EFL Cup Tues. wrap ]

Even in this transfer market, that’s nuts. Crazy to offer, and maybe even crazier not to accept.

That’s pretty much two-thirds of the Neymar money. Two-thirds (I keep repeating myself with this story)

It’s even a convenient out for Jurgen Klopp, who’s said Liverpool is not a selling club. Here, he can say with a straight face that the club can improve with this money by selling a player who has — and I recognize it’s not all about goals and assists — one double-digit goal season in his career and a career single-season high of seven PL assists (done thrice).

Almost anyone who’s had the audacity to say the Reds should accept the bid has often been shot down by the Anfield faithful online. “It’ll ruin our season” and “How do we replace him this late?” are the common cries.

To the first question: No, it won’t. To the second: Easy?

It’s not like-for-like, but nearly every player in the world is available for $176 million. It’s not like-for-like, but here’s a short list: Antoine Griezmann, Gareth Bale, Paulo Dybala, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Marco Reus… Shoot! Klopp could sign 2-3 of his favorite BVB alums.

With this fee, Coutinho would become the second-highest transfer fee of all-time, behind only Neymar. There are makeweights Barcelona could offer that would make the deal even more intriguing to the Reds: Arda Turan, Andre Gomes, Denis Suarez.

Look at it from a neutral’s eyes — which I know is hard from the number of times I’ve read @ Tweets that say, “The only people who would like this deal are fans of Chelsea or United!” — at some point, it becomes unreasonable to not take advantage of Barcelona’s desperation. Maybe Coutinho is worth the “fit” for Barca, but rejecting this fee is more illogical than the offer itself.

At the risk of inflaming every more Liverpool supporters, Ross Barkley is probably going to cost someone $35 million and he’s a year and a half younger (Coutinho is a superior player right now, but we’re talking about the market here).

And, lastly, at some point you’re telling your entire team room that you’re willing to turn down near record money — it would be the highest non-buyout clause transfer ever — to keep a player from his dream club.

Take the money. Use it. Move on.