Where should Geoff Cameron play for the U.S. national team?

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Right back? Central defense? Holding midfield?

This dude Geoff Cameron is perhaps the most versatile players the U.S. national team has on their roster and is also the only outfield player to have played regular in the Premier League for the past two seasons.

He simply has to slot into the USA’s starting lineup somewhere… but where?

Cameron, 28, has developed into one of Jurgen Klinsmann’s most reliable options across the backline over the past three seasons. Yet when asked about Cameron’s best position at the USA’s training camp at Stanford University on Wednesday, Klinsmann told reporters that Cameron’s best position is as a central defender. Right off the bat, that causes quite a few issues.

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Number one, throughout the last six to 12 months the preferred center back pairing of Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler hasn’t done too much wrong in CONCACAF qualifying games. Number two, Cameron has played almost exclusively as a right back for Stoke who finished ninth in the PL this season and has also started there for the U.S. in that same time period. Number three, three center backs into two doesn’t go, so one of Cameron, Gonzalez or Besler will find themselves on the sidelines at the World Cup this summer.

Cameron’s play has been solid all season in the PL, with bigger clubs sniffing around him and the former Houston Dynamo standout even bagging two goals. Many forget that Cameron started off the World Cup qualifying campaign as the USMNT’s first choice center back pairing alongside Carlos Bocanegra with Clarence Goodson. Cameron was then switched to right back when Steven Cherundolo’s injuries curtailed his U.S. career and the Stoke defender has stayed at right back ever since for the U.S. with only a few appearances at center back and center mid since.

source: AP
Cameron’s size, poise on the ball and pace make him a perfect option at center back this summer.

He is comfortable on the ball, great in the air and has dealt with the pace of Premier League attackers for the past two seasons. Cameron can also operate just as effectively as a holding midfielder but with Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones the preferred options there, all of a sudden it seems as though Cameron is in a straight fight for two center back spots with Gonzalez and Besler. In terms of Klinsmann’s criteria (USMNT players testing themselves at the highest level week in, week out) that he set out way back when, Cameron has ticked all of those boxes.

Should he start at center back in the World Cup opener against Ghana on June 16? With several options at right back and holding midfield set, that would make the USA extremely strong. In my opinion Cameron should start alongside Besler, even though the Sporting Kansas City captain has forged a great partnership with Gonzalez in recent months. The latter struggled against Mexico in Arizona during the March friendly and question marks have to be raised over his ability to distribute the ball and deal with pacey attackers at the highest level.

After watching Cameron closely all season over in England for Stoke, Klinsmann simply has to find a way to get him in to the starting lineup at the World Cup this summer.

If he doesn’t the U.S. national team could suffer.

Bayern fans unhappy with Champions League ticket prices

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MUNICH (AP) Bayern Munich fans were unhappy with the price of tickets for their team’s match at Anderlecht in the Champions League.

[ MORE: Study to show long-term affects of playing soccer ]

The fans held banners during Wednesday’s game saying, “Are your necks not full? Is your greed now finally satisfied?”

A Bayern fan group, Club Nr. 12, issued a statement saying Anderlecht had made 85 percent of the tickets available to the German club’s fans priced at 100 euros ($118).

“Even by the standards of the generally high-priced Champions League, this represents a new dimension for a first-round game,” said the statement, which thanked Bayern for supplementing the tickets so fans had could pay 70 euros ($82.50).

Many Bayern fans avoided the trip to Brussels altogether, while 91 percent of more than 2,500 Club Nr. 12 members said in a survey that ticket prices were “completely unacceptable.”

[ MORE: Premier League player power rankings ]

Anderlecht spokesman David Steegen told The Associated Press that Bayern fans were charged “exactly the same price” as home fans who bought single tickets to the game. He said fans who bought a three-game Champions League bundle were offered a reduction.

UEL roundup: AC Milan advances after big win; Arsenal, Everton fall

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Both Premier League sides fell in Thursday’s UEFA Europa League play, but for one side the result didn’t effect their progression into the next round.

[ MORE: Ex-Brazil forward Robinho handed nine-year prison sentence ]

Arsenal dropped a 1-0 result to Cologne, however, the Gunners still moved into the Round of 32 after their Group H counterparts, Red Star Belgrade and BATE Borisov settled for a scoreless draw.

Meanwhile, Everton’s 2017/18 woes continued on the day as the Toffees suffered a brutal 5-1 defeat at home against Serie A side Atalanta. The win secures Atalanta’s place in the knockout phase, along with fellow Group E club Lyon — who also won on Thursday.

AC Milan put up five goals of its own in a convincing win against Austria Wien, while Lazio, Nice and Red Bull Salzburg were among the other sides to move into the next round after picking up the necessary results.

Below are all of the scores from Thursday’s Europa League action.

Astana 2-3 Villareal
Konyaspor 1-1 Marseille
Rosenborg 0-1 Real Sociedad
Lazio 1-1 Vitesse
Viktoria Plzen 2-0 Steaua Bucuresti
Lokomotiv 2-1 Copenhagen
Zenit 2-1 Vardar
Red Bull Salzburg 3-0 Vitoria
Athletic Bilbao 3-2 Hertha Berlin
BATE 0-0 Red Star Belgrade
Ostersunds 2-0 Zorya
Koln 1-0 Arsenal
Nice 3-1 Zulte Waregem
Lugano 1-0 Beer-Sheva
Ludogorets 1-2 Istanbul
Braga 3-1 Hoffenheim
AEK 2-2 Rijeka
AC Milan 5-1 Austria Vienna
Lyon 4-0 Apollon
Maccabi Tel Aviv 0-2 Slavia Praha
Sheriff 1-0 Zlin
Partizan 2-1 Young Boys
Skenderbeu 3-2 Dynamo Kyiv
Everton 1-5 Atalanta

Ex-Brazil forward Robinho sentenced to nine years in prison

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Former Brazil international Robinho has been sentenced to nine years in prison after being convicted of rape on an Albanian woman back in 2013.

[ MORE: Study will look at long-term effects of playing soccer ]

At the time, Robinho was playing for Serie A side AC Milan.

The court decision came down on Thursday after the 33-year-old forward had failed to attend any court hearings in Italy, where the crime reportedly took place.

Robinho is believed to have acted in the crime with five other Brazilians, to which their whereabouts are unknown to this point.

Reuters has reported that Robinho is entitled to up to two appeals and “Italy would only launch extradition proceedings once this legal process is exhausted.”

The Brazilian is known for his club playing days at AC Milan and Manchester City, among other clubs in addition to his time with the Selecao. Robinho took part in the 2006 and 2010 World Cups with Brazil.

Premier League Preview: West Ham vs. Leicester City

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  • West Ham is winless in last six against Leicester
  • Jamie Vardy has two goals, two assists in last 4 games vs. West Ham
  • Hammers have nine points through first 12 matches

West Ham United will host Leicester City from the London Stadium on Friday (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET Friday on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) as David Moyes and Co. look to climb out of the relegation zone.

[ MORE: Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks ]

Moyes and West Ham currently sit 18th in the Premier League through 12 games, and will be hoping to see an improvement in their form with the potential returns of Andre Ayew and Marko Arnautovic.

The Hammers are without Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and Michail Antonio, as well as James Collins.

The Foxes are winless in their last two matches, and coming off of a 2-0 defeat to Manchester City over the weekend. Robert Huth and Matty James remain sidelined for Puel’s group, but otherwise, the club is relatively healthy.

What they’re saying

West Ham boss David Moyes on turning the team’s form around: “We need to give the supporters something to shout about and something that looks half decent, and then they will support us. I want everyone to be together. I am not aware of the problems before I came, I was a bit surprised when I heard (chanting against the board). “I want them behind us to give us a chance of winning.”

Leicester’s Claude Puel on confidence in his players:¬†“I have a good feeling with the players; they listen, they work hard on the pitch and I feel their ambition. We will see in the next games, with a good adaption and rotation, to see them approach it with a positive attitude.”

Prediction

The Hammers are missing several key attacking pieces, including Hernandez, which will surely make the defensive task easier for Leicester. The Foxes attack hasn’t been at its finest, but they’ll be facing a West Ham back line that allows over two goals per game (25 in 12 matches).
West Ham 1-3 Leicester