MEXICO CITY — US national team defender Geoff Cameron may have the toughest assignment of any American player heading into Tuesday night's World Cup qualifier against Mexico (10:30 pm ET, ESPN and Univision, LIVE chat on MLSsoccer.com).
If Cameron lines up at the right back position that he manned against Costa Rica on Friday night, he'll be dealing with Mexico's elusive left winger Andrés Guardado, who is one of El Tri's primary attacking catalysts. The challenge comes as Cameron still works on adjusting to the new position which he only took up for the first time after joining EPL side Stoke City.
"Obviously it's a position that I'm getting more familiar with playing at Stoke, but for me I just want to be on the pitch playing," Cameron said at Monday's Estadio Azteca walkthrough. "I still think center back is my best position and I'm more comfortable. But if Jurgen [Klinsmann] needs me there and the team needs me there, I'm more than happy to do it.
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"I'll give it my best and that's what you can do every game. Just leave it all on the field," Cameron continued. "And hopefully the guys around me will be there to support me and cover me if anything happens."
Cameron had one or two shaky moments in the match against Costa Rica, but he revealed that the snow played a major factor, preventing him from getting tight on Costa Rican players for fear of slipping "because the footing wasn't there."
With the scene shifting to the Estadio Azteca, the concern moves from snow to altitude. But Cameron believes the 7,200 feet of elevation in Mexico City will be less of a factor given the week spent by the USMNT in the 5,200 feet of Denver.
So Tuesday night's conditions could turn out to be slightly more comfortable for Cameron compared to his first taste of the Azteca back in August 15, 2012, when he says he was hooked up to an oxygen tank at halftime of the historic 1-0 victory against Mexico, the first by a US team on Mexican turf.
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During that match, Cameron played the full 90 in his much more familiar role of center back alongside Maurice Edu.
"It was a great feeling last time we came here and we won. And it just shows that they are beatable on their home soil," Cameron said. "It kind of gives us some confidence coming in here [Tuesday] night. But saying that, we have to come out here [Tuesday] and play well."