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U.S. internationals left out in Saturday Premier League action?

Mar 2, 2013, 10:48 AM EDT

Everton v Sunderland - FA Cup Sixth Round Getty Images

Saturday’s games just started in the Premier League, so there’s still time for one or two U.S. internationals to have an impact on the day’s festivities. But with three big  names failing to make their team’s starting XIs, it stands to be a quiet Saturday for England’s Americans Abroad.

Let’s go from least to most surprising.

Brek Shea made Stoke City’s 18. That’s good news. The 22-year-old had a foot problem this offseason. And in the grand scheme of things, he’s still very raw. That he’s been able to immediately make Stoke’s match day 18s is a big accomplishment.

With first choice left winger Matthew Etherington out, there was hope he’d make his first start today, but the former FC Dallas star was on the bench as West Ham visited the Britannia. To me, that’s still great progress.

More concerning is the absence of Geoff Cameron, a regular throughout the season for Tony Pulis.Young Ryan Shotton got the call at right back while Steve N’Zonzi and Glenn Whelan got the call in midfield. For the first time this season, we’re given reason to wonder if the U.S.’s first choice center half is part of Pulis’s ideal XI.

That could be very bad new for the U.S. It was already a problem that Cameron was seeing zero time at center back, his playing time at right back and in midfield keeping him from getting the valuable experience he needs to avoid mistakes like the one that contributed to the game-losing goal in Honduras. If Cameron’s not playing at all, a precarious center half situation for Jurgen Klinsmann gets even worse.

But let’s not draw too many conclusions from one game. Just put this on your watch list and hope things improve ahead of this month’s qualifiers.

And finally (and sadly), Tim Howard isn’t in the team for Everton. Two short of Everton’s record for consecutive appearances, Howard was left out of the team with what manager David Moyes described as a “knock” midweek.

The 34-year-old’s consecutive games streak ends at 210, two short of the club record held by legendary keeper Neville Southall.

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