Geoff Cameron relishing homecoming to beloved Boston, as USMNT face Brazil

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Geoff Cameron is a proud Bostonian and on Tuesday he will line up for the U.S. national team less than 15 minutes from his hometown, Attleboro, Massachusetts.

You can take the boy out of Boston, but you can’t take Boston out of the boy. That old adage is appropriate when it comes to Cameron.

[ MORE: Rubin discusses USA future, Olympic glory ]

Having played in England’s top-flight for the last three years — making 103 appearances for Stoke City in the Premier League — time spent away from his homeland, and New England in particular, will make nights like this even more special.

[ MORE: How will USMNT line up vs. Brazil? ]

Speaking to ProSoccerTalk on the phone from a hotel in Downtown Boston, Cameron revealed he has sorted out tickets for over 60 friends and family who will cheer on the U.S. for their friendly against Brazil on Tuesday.

The man from Massachusetts is looking forward to returning to his neck of the woods.

“The last time I was back here playing in front of them was my last few games for the Houston Dynamo in 2012. I haven’t been back since because I’ve missed the last few trips with the national team,” Cameron said. “I am excited to be back and play in front of them. It’s always special when you’re playing in front of your family and friends but at the same time nothing has changed, I just want to go out there and do well and perform every single game.

“But it is a little more special because this is the area I grew up in and, as a kid, I was the one looking down from the stands at Foxborough wishing I could be playing in front of my family and friends. It will be a special moment.”

[ EXCLUSIVE: JPW sits down with Olympic head coach, Andi Herzog

So, how would he sum up Boston and the New England region, the place he lovingly calls home?

“Let’s just say that it is probably the best sports town in America with the most championships,” Cameron said as his roommate Alejandro Bedoya roars with laughter in the background. “Seriously though, the fans are so passionate here. For this region, we all love our seafood and there are plenty of bars down by the water and we love sports. Overall, Boston is a beautiful city with a lot of history. For me, it is one of my favorite places and to be able to call it home, it’s amazing. Instead of going on vacation in the summer, I usually come home and spend time with my family and friends because it is a place that I love and it’s where I grew up. It is a place where I can relax.”

Boston runs through Cameron’s blood. He is a die-hard Boston sports fan who realized one of his dreams last summer when he threw out the first pitch at a Boston Red Sox game following his return from the 2014 World Cup with the USA. Attleboro is less than 10 miles from Gillette Stadium, a venue which has seen many national teams games, houses the New England Revolution of Major League Soccer and hosted World Cup games in 1994. It was at one of those matches in ’94 where a young Geoff Cameron looked on in awe as he took in his first-ever soccer game.

“My first game was the 1994 World Cup, I remember sitting in the stands and saying ‘I want to play out at the stadium and the highest level.’ I went to Revs’ game and I always wanted to do that as a living, that was my goal,” Cameron said. “I remember going to watch the national team train at Foxoborough when Marco Etcheverry was there and watching guys like Joe-Max Moore and Earnie Stewart came and did a few appearances in the area where I grew up. Those were my early memories and there’s no doubt Boston is a huge area for soccer.”

On what will already be a special night for Cameron’s family, another reason to be excited is that his father, Scott, will be making the trip to see his son play. In recent years Scott has suffered with serious heart issues, meaning transatlantic trips to watch Geoff play in the PL with Stoke have been limited.

Cameron still calls his father before every single game he plays and having his Dad in the same stadium as him on Tuesday will be a special moment.

“Every weekend my Dad and my family watch me on TV over in England,” Cameron explained. “But with my Dad being sick over the last couple of years with a serious heart problem, for me it makes it special for me because he hasn’t been able to get out to England to watch. Hopefully we will be able to get him out to a game there this year. I’m happy he will be able to make it out to the match against Brazil. It will be a late one but I’m sure he will rest up and save his energy so he’s alright for the game.”

[ MORE: Three things learned from USA’s win vs. Peru ]

The versatile defensive player made his return to the U.S. setup for the first time in almost a year on Friday, playing his first minutes of 2015 after Stoke requested for him to be left out of the 2015 Gold Cup roster with Cameron struggling to overcome nagging injuries sustained throughout the 2014-15 season. Coming on at half time with the U.S. trailing Peru 1-0 at RFK Stadium, Cameron played at right back and helped set up the first goal and put in a strong display in the 2-1 comeback victory, which was praised by Jurgen Klinsmann in his postgame press conference.

“It was great to get my first few minutes back with the squad,” Cameron said. “I have just got to keep working hard and try to help the team in anyway I can and focus on making sure I’m playing my game and doing the right things. Hopefully that will help the team and we will go from there.”

Geoff Cameron, left, back in action for the USMNT.
Geoff Cameron, left, back in action for the USMNT.

The game against Brazil on Tuesday will be a step up as superstars like Neymar, David Luiz and Kaka roll into Foxborough aiming to put on a show. The U.S. is determined to put on a show of its own.

“We all know the caliber of players they [Brazil] have and these guys play at the highest level, clubs like Barcelona, PSG, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and whatever but they are players too and we just have to make it uncomfortable for them,” Cameron said. “We all know they are a very good team but we are going to do our very best to make it a tough game for them and we’ve shown in the past that we can beat them.”

Many fans of the USMNT will have more than one eye on how the team performs against Brazil as its the USA’s final game before facing Mexico on Oct. 10 at the Rose Bowl in the huge CONCACAF Confederations Cup playoff. The winner will represent the region at the 2017 tournament in Russia and that’s something Cameron and his teammates are desperate to be a part of.

“It’s a massive game for us and for them too,” Cameron said. “It’s going to be a big test and challenge for us but if we play the way we know how to play and all the things slot together, then there’s no doubt in my mind that with the belief we have in each other’s ability, we will come out on top. But we know it is not going to be an easy game and it’s probably the biggest game we will have because we want to go to the Confederations Cup. That would be massive.”

Switching the focus to the current Premier League season, Cameron and Stoke City is winless through their opening four games but have had to deal with plenty of adversity along the way, including late goals against and two red cards in the same game against West Bromwich Albion.

“Obviously we are disappointed,” Cameron said of the start to the season. “Giving up a goal in the 88th minute against Liverpool in the season opener, we should have picked up a point there. Getting a point away at Tottenham was a big point, then a point at Norwich was okay. Then you go home and you play West Brom and get two red cards in the first 25 minutes after we dominated the opening stages and then even after we went down two men we still created chances and the effort and belief we had in each other was strong. We were disappointed we couldn’t have got a point there but the results will come. We are getting better the more times we train and play together. Guys are getting comfortable with each other and the fluidity is improving. Offensively we will get better, guys will click and its shown. Bojan is coming back and hopefully we can start doing some damage up top. I think the back four and defensively we’ve been pretty good. We’ve had unlucky results, but that luck will turn.”

Norwich City v Stoke City - Premier League
Cameron playing for Stoke City vs. Norwich.

For Cameron, he’s started all four games in his preferred position at center back alongside his good friend Marc Muniesa, with their relationship developing on the field as well as it has off it, and he even popped up to play the role of hero and scored the winning penalty kick in a League Cup win over League Two outfit Luton Town.

“I really like playing with Muniesa, he’s a guy where we have a really good friendship off the field,” Cameron said. “He’s one of my good friends and that relates to on the field. We communicate well on the field and know each others strengths and weaknesses, plus we are both confident and controlled on the ball and like to keep the ball out of the back. We organize the guys in front of us, it’s positive and we are going in the right direction. We, as a team, just need to keep it going.”

“You could say scoring that penalty kick was more like a feeling of relief,” Cameron added. “I was just glad that I was able to put it in and Shay [Given] saved the shot before me to give me a little less pressure.”

It’s safe to say Cameron will be feeling a little more at ease on Tuesday when he performs in front of his friends and family in familiar surroundings just down the road from where he grew up.

Sheffield United – Chelsea stream: How to watch, start time, prediction

Sheffield United - Chelsea preview
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Sheffield United – Chelsea stream: Frank Lampard’s Chelsea begins life defending third place on the Premier League table when it visits Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on Saturday (Watch Live at 12:30pm ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).

The Blues’ 60 points are one more than Leicester City and two clear of old rivals Manchester United.

Also of interest to Chelsea and USMNT fans: The Blues have posted a 20-minute video of every Christian Pulisic touch since Project Restart began earlier this Summer.

Sheffield United beat Wolves at midweek to pull within a point of sixth-place. If Blades stumble, there are three teams within a win of pushing them back beneath the Europa League places.

SHEFFIELD UNITED – CHELSEA LIVE


Team news

John Fleck and Luke Freeman are out, while John Lundstram is on the bench for Sheffield United as David McGoldrick comes into the starting lineup.

Billy Gilmour is out for the season with Jorginho coming in to replace him, while Mateo Kovacic is back fit and named on the bench by Frank Lampard. N’Golo Kante remains out and Tammy Abraham replaces Olivier Giroud in the starting lineup.

 

What they’re saying

Blades boss Wilder to our own JPW after a 1-0 win over Wolves: “We like to think we’ve brought something in terms of our attitude and our performances to get the results that we’ve got. We had a stretched squad and really had to dig in to get a result. I don’t think you get the result and the performance tonight if you haven’t got something with the ball and I think we did have something with the ball and out of it everybody did a job and tried to stop a very, very talented side from gaining momentum and dominating us. Second half, especially, we looked and it felt like we were really desperate to go and get a winner. Regardless of how late its come, we’ve been rewarded for that attitude.”

Chelsea’s Frank Lampard on Christian Pulisic earning Eden Hazard comparisons: “Having played with Eden, he had special talent straight away and draws players towards him to open up space to others. Christian is more direct. He has the ability to break a line and run forward which is a great trait in the modern game. Why I shy away from it the other night is because Eden has been here and done it over a period of time to an incredible level. Christian has it in his hands to make a real impact over time. It’s great to see him [doing well] but there’s a lot of development to come. Christian is taking responsibility to change games.”

Odds and ends (Full matchweek odds here)

The Blades are +425 underdogs according to DraftKings, with Chelsea -148.

A two-goal game for Tammy Abraham was only enough for a Chelsea point at Stamford Bridge when the sides met in a 2-2 draw earlier this season.

Prediction

Chelsea’s had one more days’ rest than the Blades and that seems plenty given the congestion this time of year. Give the Blues a 2-1 win.

How to watch Sheffield United – Chelsea

Kickoff: 12:30 pm ET Saturday
TV Channel: NBC
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com

Farke, Tettey speak after Norwich City relegation

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Norwich City’s long road to relegation started to feel inevitable in recent weeks. It was punctuated by a 4-0 loss to Michail Antonio West Ham United on Saturday.

The club’s fifth Premier League tenure will end after just one season after the club’s typical defensive shortcoming were on full display at Carrow Road.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

“We are unbelievably disappointed,” said manager Daniel Farke, via the BBC. “When I came here we needed to develop young players and sell them to keep the club going. We were able to do this. Then the second season no-one expected anything but we were able to stage a miracle that no-one expected. We won the Championship title with a special brand of football. We were not able to add a third miracle in-a-row against all odds.

“I’m really disappointed for this and for all our supporters. We wanted to beat the odds again but when the dust settles the outcome is more or less what was expected. …  That’s what I expected.”

Farke hopes he can stay with the club and bring it back into the Premier League.

“Our situation as a club is quite comfortable because we don’t have any financial pressure at all and our young players are under long-term contracts. We can invest a bit more into the squad. Hopefully in the medium or long-term future we are an established Premier League club and we will need all our key players to do that.”

Norwich veteran Alexander Tettey found it difficult to label his emotions, even if the result was long coming to Carrow Road.

The Norwegian mainstay has been with the Canaries since 2012, enduring promotion and relegation with the club.

“It’s very hard for me to talk,” Tettey said. “That was a tough game for us. We came out trying to be positive but when we don’t do what we have to do on the pitch we are punished. … We’ve been in games sometimes but we don’t have the mentality or character to get those wins. It’s been a tough journey, it’s a young group but they will now have that experience.”

A bitter day at Carrow Road, even if it was long in front of the club.

NBC Sports Premier League schedule

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The new NBC Sports Premier League schedule for the 2019-20 season has been released, with time and dates for the upcoming matchweeks confirmed and here’s how you can watch it all live on TV in the USA.

[ WATCH: Premier League video ] 

With games spread out across multiple days and many in separate time slots, there are lots of changes to your regular schedule as the league returns on June 17 after being suspended on March 13 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Games will be played in empty stadiums and at home venues.

The full TV schedule for the games this month are below, plus you can watch every single second of every single game live online via NBC Sports.com, the NBC Sports App and by purchasing the “Premier League Pass” via NBC Sports Gold and the new Peacock streaming service from NBC.

Below is the new schedule for the Premier League on NBC Sports from June 17 to July 22 , as we will release the dates and times for the final matchweek of the 2019-20 season when they become available and how to watch them in the USA.


Premier League: How to watch, schedule in USA (all times EST)

Matchday 29

Wednesday, June 17: Aston Villa 0-0 Sheffield United
Wednesday, June 17: Man City 3-0 Arsenal

Matchday 30

Friday, June 19: Norwich 0-3 Southampton
Friday, June 19: Tottenham 1-1 Man United
Saturday, June 20: Watford 1-1 Leicester
Saturday, June 20: Brighton 2-1 Arsenal
Saturday, June 20: West Ham 0-2 Wolves
Saturday, June 20: Bournemouth 0-2 Crystal Palace
Sunday, June 21: Newcastle 3-0 Sheffield United
Sunday, June 21: Aston Villa 1-2 Chelsea
Sunday, June 21: Everton 0-0 Liverpool
Monday, June 22: Man City 5-0 Burnley

Matchday 31

Tuesday, June 23: Leicester 0-0 Brighton
Tuesday, June 23: Tottenham 2-0 West Ham
Wednesday, June 24: Man United 3-0 Sheffield United
Wednesday, June 24: Newcastle 1-1 Aston Villa
Wednesday, June 24: Norwich 0-1 Everton
Wednesday, June 24: Wolves 1-0 Bournemouth
Wednesday, June 24: Liverpool 4-0 Palace
Thursday, June 25: Southampton 0-2 Arsenal
Thursday, June 25: Burnley 1-0 Watford
Thursday, June 25: Chelsea 2-1 Man City

Matchday 32

Saturday, June 27: Aston Villa 0-1 Wolves
Sunday, June 28: Watford 1-3 Southampton
Monday, June 29: Crystal Palace 0-1 Burnley
Tuesday, June 30: Brighton 0-3 Man United
Wednesday, July 1: Everton 2-1 Leicester
Wednesday, July 1: Bournemouth 1-4 Newcastle
Wednesday, July 1: Arsenal 4-0 Norwich
Wednesday, July 1: West Ham 3-2 Chelsea
Thursday, July 2: Sheffield United 3-1 Tottenham
Thursday, July 2: Man City 4-0 Liverpool

Matchday 33

Saturday, July 4: Norwich City 0-1 Brighton
Saturday, July 4: Leicester 3-0 Crystal Palace
Saturday, July 4: Man United 5-2 Bournemouth
Saturday, July 4: Wolves 0-2 Arsenal
Saturday, July 4: Chelsea 3-0 Watford
Sunday, July 5: Burnley 1-1 Sheffield United
Sunday, July 5: Newcastle United 2-2 West Ham
Sunday, July 5: Liverpool 2-0 Aston Villa
Sunday, July 5: Southampton 1-0 Man City
Monday, July 6: Tottenham 1-0 Everton

Matchday 34

Tuesday, July 7: Crystal Palace 2-3 Chelsea
Tuesday, July 7: Watford 2-1 Norwich City
Tuesday, July 7: Arsenal 1-1 Leicester City
Wednesday, July 8: Man City 5-0 Newcastle
Wednesday, July 8: Sheffield United 1-0 Wolves
Wednesday, July 8: West Ham 0-1 Burnley
Wednesday, July 8: Brighton 1-3 Liverpool
Thursday, July 9: Bournemouth 0-0 Tottenham
Thursday, July 9: Everton 1-1 Southampton
Thursday, July 9: Aston Villa 0-3 Manchester United

Matchday 35

Saturday, July 11: Norwich City v. West Ham, 7:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN
Saturday, July 11: Watford v. Newcastle United, 7:30 a.m. ET, Gold/Peacock
Saturday, July 11: Liverpool v. Burnley, 10 a.m. ET, NBCSN
Saturday, July 11: Sheffield United v. Chelsea, 12:30 p.m. ET, NBC
Saturday, July 11: Brighton v. Manchester City, 3 p.m. ET, NBCSN
Sunday, July 12: Wolves v. Everton, 7 a.m. ET, NBCSN
Sunday, July 12: Aston Villa v. Crystal Palace, 9:15 a.m. ET, NBCSN
Sunday, July 12: Tottenham v. Arsenal, 11:30 a.m. ET, NBCSN
Sunday, July 12: Bournemouth v. Leicester City, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN
Monday, July 13: Man United v. Southampton, 3 p.m. ET, NBCSN

Matchday 36

Tuesday, July 14: Chelsea v. Norwich, 3:15 p.m. ET
Wednesday, July 15: Burnley v. Wolves, 1 p.m. ET
Wednesday, July 15: Man City v. Bournemouth, 1 p.m. ET
Wednesday, July 15: Newcastle v. Tottenham, 1 p.m. ET
Wednesday, July 15: Arsenal v. Liverpool, 3:15 p.m. ET
Thursday, July 16: Everton v. Aston Villa, 1 p.m. ET
Thursday, July 16: Leicester v Sheffield United, 1 p.m. ET
Thursday, July 16: Crystal Palace v. Man United, 3:15 p.m. ET
Thursday, July 16: Southampton v. Brighton, 3:15 p.m. ET
Friday, July 17: West Ham v. Watford, 3 p.m. ET

Matchday 37

Saturday, July 18: Norwich City v. Burnley, 12:30 p.m. ET
Sunday, July 19: Bournemouth v. Southampton, 9 a.m. ET
Sunday, July 19: Tottenham v. Leicester, 11 a.m. ET
Monday, July 20: Brighton v. Newcastle, 1 p.m. ET
Monday, July 20: Sheffield United v. Everton, 1 p.m. ET
Monday, July 20: Wolves v. Crystal Palace, 3:15 p.m. ET
Tuesday, July 21: Watford v. Man City, 1 p.m. ET
Tuesday, July 21: Aston Villa v. Arsenal, 3:15 p.m. ET
Wednesday, July 22: Man United v. West Ham, 1 p.m. ET
Wednesday, July 22: Liverpool v. Chelsea, 3:15 p.m. ET

Pair of Deeney penalties lead Watford comeback win

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Troy Deeney converted two penalties as Watford surged closer to Premier League safety with a 2-1 comeback win over Newcastle United at Vicarage Road.

Down 1-0 on a Dwight Gayle goal, the Hornets scored twice in the second half to move six points clear of 18th-place Bournemouth.

STREAM WATFORD – NEWCASTLE LIVE

Newcastle remains 13th with 44 points.


Three things we learned

1. (Of course) Deeney delivers: Watford captain Deeney has had a remarkable run at Vicarage Road and this season had plenty of storylines. But it was Deeney who had to go to the penalty spot twice to (possibly) seal his beloved club’s status in the Premier League. The two goals will feel good but not as good as another season in the top flight.

2. Magpies architect of own demise: The Magpies looked very good in the first half but their defending in the second half was abject, right down to two silly penalties. Matt Ritchie put himself in a bad spot to allow Kiko Femenia to win an early second half penalty and Javi Manquillo’s takedown of Ismaila Sarr 30 minutes later was laughable. The Magpies didn’t deserve the points based on the second half chances conceded anyway.

3. Newcastle worn out: Steve Bruce rested Miguel Almiron last match and Allan Saint-Maximin is probably looking upon that with greedy eyes. Newcastle’s best players have had to go and go again, and they just look a bit off it. A visit from Spurs on Wednesday is next.

Man of the Match

There were a few candidates for the Hornets, but we’ll go with the “Deeney of the defense” in Craig Dawson. He broke up a number of Newcastle opportunities.


Watford – Newcastle recap

Miguel Almiron came close to getting a leg on Allan Saint-Maximin’s fourth-minute cross.

A corner led to another Almiron shot, this one stopped well by Ben Foster.

Watford nearly had it 1-0 in the 17th. when Danny Welbeck’s shot was pushed off the near post by Martin Dubravka and saved off the line by Jamaal Lascelles.

Newcastle kept knocking, though, and took the lead through in-form Gayle, who showed up at the back post to poke in Federico Fernandez’s redirected corner kick.

Foster denied a breaking Saint-Maximin in the 35th minute as the Magpies looked good money for another goal.

That’s not to say Watford didn’t manufacture some chances, including a few quality set piece chances in the final few minutes of the first half.

The Magpies cleared an unholy goal mouth scramble off a 42nd-minute set piece and Almiron broke up the pressure with a long dribble into the Watford half.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Kiko Femenia hit the deck under Matt Ritchie’s challenge to win a 52nd-minute penalty, Deeney dispatching it past Dubravka to make it 1-1. His seventh goal is also his 130th in a Watford shirt.

Fernandez nearly gave the game to Watford with a miserable pass, but Dubravka stopped Deeney’s wasted direct shot.

Saint-Maximin forced an own goal out of Watford but the linesman’s flag was raised in the 67th.

The Magpies conceded the inevitable second goal when Manquillo wrapped up Sarr with a dozen minutes to play.