CARSON, Calif. – While the national team conversation circles on why 2011 MLS Defender of the Year Omar Gonzalez hasn’t been called up to Jurgen Klinsmann's US national team, another center back, Houston’s Geoff Cameron, will try to show why he also deserves a shot with the US on Sunday, when the Dynamo take on the LA Galaxy in MLS Cup 2011. (9 pm ET; ESPN, Galavision, TSN2; live chat on MLSsoccer.com)
“Geoff has shown he’s a very good center back on the MLS scene,” Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear said on Friday. “Does him playing center back give him a better chance to play on the national team? Possibly so. He looks very comfortable back there”
Cameron, who began the 2011 season as a midfielder, moved to central defense full time in a 2-2 tie at Columbus on Sept. 14 - the last time they've allowed more than a single goal in any game. He helped solidify the back line as the Dynamo went on to string together a six-game unbeaten streak that saw the team surge into the playoffs and to into the MLS Cup final.
“I think Geoff has been playing out of position for a long time and you haven’t really seen him playing center back for very long,” Brian Ching told MLSsoccer.com. “Credit to him, I think that’s his best position, and credit to him for allowing us to use him in [the midfield], a position he wasn’t the most comfortable in in the beginning of the year because we needed him there.”
Although it was the acquisition of Brazilian midfielder Luis Camargo that facilitated Cameron’s move to defense, what Cameron has added to team there is distribution from the back and sheer athleticism.
“Geoff, obviously, is athletic as can be,” said Houston’s Brad Davis, who shared the midfield with Cameron for the majority of the season. “I think we were missing a little bit of that in the back line and I think Geoff’s a guy that can get back and clean stuff up once we’re beat. He adds a little bit of speed and wins balls in the air.”
“I think Geoff deserves a shot, especially at center back,” said 2006 MLS Defender of the Year Bobby Boswell, who's been Cameron's regular central defensive partner since September. “I’ve played with a lot of center backs and a lot of them are national team players at high levels, and no one’s got the footwork that he does. His transition from a midfielder to a defender, he’s phenomenal on the ball and you don’t see that a lot. He’s learning the organization part of it and he’s willing to learn and willing to listen.”
Cameron has one cap for the United States. In a game against El Salvador in February 2010, he came on as a sub in the 86th minute for Robbie Rogers at wide midfield and didn’t really get much of a look. While he’s aware his solid play has earned him praise, he’s just going to keep doing his thing – if he gets called up, so be it.
“Obviously, anybody wants an opportunity for the national team and obviously that’s one of my goals in my career, but I have to take care of business with the Dynamo and make sure I’m playing well day in and day out and if I get called up, I get called up. You can only control what you can control, so there’s no bother stressing about it or worrying about it getting called up.
“If I do, I’m sure I’ll be prepared and be ready, and obviously to have an opportunity to play with Jurgen would be cool.”
WATCH: Cameron one-on-one