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Cameron on bench, Shea left out as Stoke down Reading

Feb 9, 2013, 3:53 PM EST

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Second half goals from Robert Huth and Cameron Jerome lead Stoke City to a 2-1 win on Saturday, with visiting Reading halving the Potters’ lead thanks to a late goal from Jamaican Adrian Mariappa.

While the win kept Stoke 10th in the English Premier League, the game may have been a disappointing one for U.S. Men’s National Team fans tuning in to see Americans abroad.

Geoff Cameron, a constant throughout the season for Tony Pulis, spent 84 minutes on Stoke’s bench before making a late cameo for Andy Wilkinson. The former Houston Dynamo defender started in the U.S.’s mid-week World Cup qualifier in Honduras but was held out in the Potters’ first match since his return. It was the first time this season the fullback/midfielder has come off the bench.

Stoke’s other U.S. international, the recently purchased Brek Shea, failed to make Stoke’s 18, the former FC Dallas winger having only joined the Potters mid-week.

Expect to see Cameron back in Stoke’s team as soon as possible. Though Pulis didn’t speak to it after the match, it’s assumed Cameron’s absence was travel-related. He should be back at fullback when Stoke visit Fulham in two weeks. (Out of the FA Cup, Stoke is off next weekend.)

Shea’s status is less certain. He’s 22, coming off an injury, and trying to break into a team that has established options at his position. He provides Pulis with a great change-of-pace option off the bench, but training will undoubtedly determine how quickly Shea plays.

Ultimately, it’s not really important whether Shea plays in two weeks or two months. His first days in Stoke-on-Trent should be about a young man adjusting to his new life. Given how important that adjustment will be to Shea’s long-term success, Stoke and their new charge would be best served to take it slow.

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