Can Geoff Cameron bump Brad Evans as first choice United States right back?

14 Comments

For whatever reason, Jurgen Klinsmann has been reluctant to embrace Geoff Cameron as a right back. The U.S. coach has deployed Cameron along the outside of his back line, but only here and there, and only in a pinch.

Of course, “in a pinch” has more or less described the U.S. right back spot for about a year now.

Here’s why there is fresh reason to believe this little situation might be changing:

Brad Evans is the U.S. right back of choice for the moment. And the Seattle Sounders man has certainly done enough to deserve ongoing consideration. Klinsmann talks a lot about helping players achieve their ultimate level and with Evans, he’s probably there.

So while it’s “mission accomplished” for the Seattle veteran – who quite selflessly mentored Sounders teammate DeAndre Yedlin at the right back spot during the January camp, proving himself once again a real team man – it’s hard to escape the feeling that Evans remains a stop-gap solution in the U.S. shirt.

(MORE: The Chris Wondolowski-World Cup roster debate)

After all, that’s not even his club position; Seattle has used Evans all across the midfield, and as the veteran is a real student of the game, he has a command of the roles and responsibilities wherever called upon.

As a right back, we know what to expect from Evans: adequate, honest defending and just enough push into the attack to check the box on that element of the game. Again, that’s no knock on Evans; it’s his top level, and good on him for getting there.

source:  But then there’s Cameron, who just keeps delivering one solid performance after another at right back for Stoke City. The Potters’ top U.S. international (among three still property of the club) helped set up the weekend game-winner in a huge “W” over Manchester United.

Cameron no longer looks like a center back asked to play on the outside, which was the case before around the Britannia (under a former, far more defensive minded manager). Cameron now seems to relish the role.

So … might Klinsmann change his tune, reversing course on previous thinking that Cameron’s best spot is at center back? Klinsmann’s standard line before was that, like all players, Cameron needed to achieve his own personal top level to elbow his way into the starting lineup in the middle. He needed to force the coach to give him a start … at center back.

But we know this about Klinsmann: he’s an open mind. He doesn’t close doors, not on players and not on ideas. Plus, Klinsmann is secure enough in life and in his job to say he was wrong, a place in which less secure managers might struggle to arrive. In fact, Klinsmann often encourages his players to “prove that I am wrong!”

Cameron might not have been the best U.S. right back a year ago or even a few months ago. But given Steve Cherundolo’s inability to get back on the field, and given Stoke City man’s continued run of strong performance in the world’s top league, it’s certainly worth asking if the depth chart is due for a shaking up?

(MORE: What went right in the U.S. win over South Korea)

(MORE: What went wrong in the U.S. win over South Korea)

Chelsea Ladies sign NWSL superstar Sam Kerr

Photo by Harriet Lander - Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Sam Kerr is heading to London.

The Australian megastar is leaving the Chicago Red Stars for Chelsea after scoring two MVP awards in the National Women’s Soccer League (2017, 2019).

[ MORE: NYCFC teen off to Gladbach ]

Kerr, 26, has 38 goals in 83 caps for the Lady Matildas, scoring four times in one World Cup match against Jamaica last summer.

Her 69 goals are the most in an NWSL career, and she admits it was a challenge to leave her comfort zone and head to Europe.

“Probably the part that was most difficult was leaving friends and the US because I’ve created such a home there, but it was just time for me to make a change. And once I had my eyes set on Europe, it was kind of an easy decision to choose Chelsea as a club.”

It’s a huge signing for Chelsea, who is leading the table through five matches with an unbeaten 4W-1D record. She’ll join the team in January.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic says goodbye to the LA Galaxy

Photograph by Julian Avram/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has bid adieu to Major League Soccer, thanking the LA Galaxy for “making me feel alive again.”

The Swedish superstar averaged nearly a goal per game with the Galaxy, and was rumored to be in line for another two years at the club.

[ MORE: Columbus acquires Nagbe ]

Perhaps those reports, and maybe AC Milan’s struggles to score goals, have made more suitors come forward. Time will tell.

The Galaxy said the decision was a “mutual parting of ways” and thanked the player for his work both on and off the pitch.

From LAGalaxy.com:

“We would like to thank Zlatan for his contributions to the LA Galaxy and Major League Soccer,” said LA Galaxy President Chris Klein. “Since his arrival in 2018, Zlatan has positively influenced the sport of soccer in Los Angeles. We are grateful for his work ethic and passion. We thank Zlatan for his professionalism and immeasurable impact on the Los Angeles community and the soccer community in North America as a whole.”

Zlatan’s full thoughts, below, were a bit more Zlatanny.

Klein will have his hands full in replacing Ibrahimovic, who scored 52 times in 53 matches, but the Galaxy have always managed to bring in big names.

Getting a star playmaker is even more important as El Trafico rivals LAFC have rewritten the MLS record book and snared plenty of attention in California and across the league.

Columbus acquires Nagbe from Atlanta for $1M in allocation

Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Darlington Nagbe is headed for a reunion with old boss Caleb Porter.

Columbus has sent over $1 million in allocation money to Atlanta United in order to claim the influential midfielder.

[ MORE: Top 25 players in USMNT pool ]

Porter coached Nagbe at the University of Akron and the Portland Timbers, and has 25 USMNT caps but has turned down Gregg Berhalter’s requests for service.

Nagbe made 46 appearances across all competitions for the Five Stripes this season, scoring twice with five assists. He has 313 matches played between Portland and Atlanta.

From MLSSoccer.com:

“Darlington Nagbe is a proven winner and the type of player who can be a difference-maker in our team,” Crew SC president and GM Tim Bezbatchenko said in a statement. “In addition to his skill set, we believe that Darlington is someone whose character and values fit well within our organization. As we stated heading into this offseason, we continue to look both domestically and internationally for players that will make our team better, and we believe Darlington is an important part of those efforts.”

It’s a bold statement from Columbus, who had a reputation for getting the most of its talent under Berhalter but faded under Porter after a hot start. The Crew began 2019 with a 4-1-1 record but lost 13 of its next 15 matches.

Of course, being MLS, the Crew then only lost 2 of their final 13 matches. Shoulder shrug emoji.

NYCFC teen agrees move to Borussia Monchengladbach

Photo by Maddie Meyer - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images
Leave a comment

New York City FC’s impressive academy has earned one of the bigger transfer market payoffs in MLS Homegrown history, and will join the current Bundesliga leaders after next season.

Joe Scally, 16, is headed to Borussia Monchengladbach on a $2 million transfer with a sell-on clause, and will spend the 2020 MLS season with his boyhood club. Scally has played in the Open Cup, but has not debuted in an MLS match.

[ MORE: Top 25 players in USMNT pool ]

The $2 million figure is on the edge of Top 30 for departing MLS players, according to Transfermarkt, just behind Cyle Larin’s move from Orlando City to Besiktas.

Scally appeared 11 times for the U.S. U-17 national team, going 90 minutes in all three matches and assisting on the lone American goal at the World Cup in Brazil.

From Borussia.de:

“Joe Scally is a top American talent who we have been following for a long time. We see a lot of potential in Joe and we are looking forward to him joining up with us in January 2021. Until then, we will work together with New York City FC to prepare him for his move to Germany,” said Borussia’s sporting director, Max Eberl.

Not sure just how long they could’ve been following a 16-year-old, but we digress.

Scally will join U-17 teammates Giovanni Reyna (Borussia Dortmund) and Maximilian Dietz (Freiburg) on the books at a Bundesliga club. Recent U-17 call-ups Pablo Soares (Gladbach) and Noah Jones (RB Leipzig) are also with clubs in Germany’s top flight.

Last month, NYCFC sporting director Claudio Reyna told me that Scally was the perfect example of a young player trusting a club’s preference of changing his position.

“The perfect example is Joe Scally on the U-17 World Cup team. He came to us from a club in Long Island as an athletic box-to-box midfielder. He was very strong, but we saw him as an outside back. The lesson that we now we share that with our players, don’t get upset if you move to a position, but Joe Scally understood, never complained, he played wherever he was told to do, and now he’s a right back now, 16 years old going to the World Cup after being in our academy for two and a half years.”

Looks like it’s worked out.