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Can Geoff Cameron bump Brad Evans as first choice United States right back?

Feb 3, 2014, 7:50 PM EDT

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For whatever reason, Jurgen Klinsmann has been reluctant to embrace Geoff Cameron as a right back. The U.S. coach has deployed Cameron along the outside of his back line, but only here and there, and only in a pinch.

Of course, “in a pinch” has more or less described the U.S. right back spot for about a year now.

Here’s why there is fresh reason to believe this little situation might be changing:

Brad Evans is the U.S. right back of choice for the moment. And the Seattle Sounders man has certainly done enough to deserve ongoing consideration. Klinsmann talks a lot about helping players achieve their ultimate level and with Evans, he’s probably there.

So while it’s “mission accomplished” for the Seattle veteran – who quite selflessly mentored Sounders teammate DeAndre Yedlin at the right back spot during the January camp, proving himself once again a real team man – it’s hard to escape the feeling that Evans remains a stop-gap solution in the U.S. shirt.

(MORE: The Chris Wondolowski-World Cup roster debate)

After all, that’s not even his club position; Seattle has used Evans all across the midfield, and as the veteran is a real student of the game, he has a command of the roles and responsibilities wherever called upon.

As a right back, we know what to expect from Evans: adequate, honest defending and just enough push into the attack to check the box on that element of the game. Again, that’s no knock on Evans; it’s his top level, and good on him for getting there.

source:  But then there’s Cameron, who just keeps delivering one solid performance after another at right back for Stoke City. The Potters’ top U.S. international (among three still property of the club) helped set up the weekend game-winner in a huge “W” over Manchester United.

Cameron no longer looks like a center back asked to play on the outside, which was the case before around the Britannia (under a former, far more defensive minded manager). Cameron now seems to relish the role.

So … might Klinsmann change his tune, reversing course on previous thinking that Cameron’s best spot is at center back? Klinsmann’s standard line before was that, like all players, Cameron needed to achieve his own personal top level to elbow his way into the starting lineup in the middle. He needed to force the coach to give him a start … at center back.

But we know this about Klinsmann: he’s an open mind. He doesn’t close doors, not on players and not on ideas. Plus, Klinsmann is secure enough in life and in his job to say he was wrong, a place in which less secure managers might struggle to arrive. In fact, Klinsmann often encourages his players to “prove that I am wrong!”

Cameron might not have been the best U.S. right back a year ago or even a few months ago. But given Steve Cherundolo’s inability to get back on the field, and given Stoke City man’s continued run of strong performance in the world’s top league, it’s certainly worth asking if the depth chart is due for a shaking up?

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  1. danielofthedale - Feb 3, 2014 at 8:25 PM

    This should not really even be a question! Evans is a solid player but he is not a RB. Cameron is playing week in and week out for a decent team in the EPL and doing a more than serviceable job at. IMO he should clearly be the starting RB come Brazil.

    • Steve Davis - Feb 3, 2014 at 8:33 PM

      I don’t necessarily disagree with you … I’m just telling you what I know. And I KNOW that Klinsmann didn’t see Cameron before as a valid candidate at RB. I’ve asked him the question myself before, and he says CB is Cameron’s spot. (Although, again, that may be changing now.)

  2. midtec2005 - Feb 3, 2014 at 8:36 PM

    I’d be willing to bet that we see him at RB in one of the upcoming friendlies… if not all of them.

  3. tr3y11 - Feb 3, 2014 at 11:11 PM

    Klinsmann has to be convinced of Cameron starting at RB. To not do so now would simply be illogical. Evans was and is a band-aid for RB. The bigger question now is do you start Cameron or Chandler, who have both been in excellent form for their clubs.

  4. pjbowmaster - Feb 3, 2014 at 11:37 PM

    Cameron’s ball skills and ability to deliver a dangerous cross make him a better choice than Evans. And I really like Evans as a player and leader. But Cameron is becoming very accomplished at the Right Back Position.

    Timmy Chandler should not be allowed anywhere near the National Team until the next cycle. I don’t care how good his club form is. He has not earned his place in this group.

    • onelovesoccer7 - Feb 4, 2014 at 2:42 PM

      completely disagree about Chandler, completely agree about Cameron. his interview last month showed his head is on right after god knows what went on with him last year. and i’m not talking about his fear of flying. he got dropped from the starting XI for his club team because he was awful. the kid is back in fantastic form, he has the speed that we desperately need at RB, and he stated he is really hoping to prove he belongs on the USMNT again. i think we see him in Ukraine and he shows he belongs.

      • bear06 - Feb 4, 2014 at 11:36 PM

        Agreed. Chandler started the season slow but he has been really solid in the last couple of months in the Bundesliga.

    • bear06 - Feb 4, 2014 at 11:36 PM

      Chandler should be allowed back to the national team since he’s one of the best RB’s the U.S. has. The U.S. aren’t Spain or Germany where they can just ignore a player and they’ll be alright.

  5. mvktr2 - Feb 4, 2014 at 3:22 AM

    CR7 tears taste sweeter than sugar!

    I was looking forward to those tears flowing after Portugal finished group play looking up at the US & Germany. However the idea of Brad Evans matching up with him gives me nightmares.

    On the plus side all be it a friendly but Evans’ best outting was against the a truly world class player in Germany’s Podolski whom he chiefly shut down. I was blown away … a lot of people were!

  6. onelovesoccer7 - Feb 4, 2014 at 2:40 PM

    Evans continues to have awful showings at RB. he has one more chance against Mexico in April. Cameron now, as compared to when JK said he didn’t see Cameron as a RB, has been playing RB for awhile. he is in that zone. further, Chandler should be ahead of Evans as well. heck, even Lichaj. point is, Evans should not be our starting RB and I’m seriously wondering if he should even go to Brazil. i know that seems harsh, but Cameron and Chandler are much better RBs.

  7. boscoesworld - Feb 4, 2014 at 4:07 PM

    To answer the question Steve posed. I HOPE SO! It’s not that Evans is bad. He is just really more of a left sided player for one and he is sort of inconsistent at RB.. I had nightmares of him getting turned and burned on Saturday. I think Cameron needs to make the team. He can play RB, CB and DMF, a nice 3 in 1. Chandler needs to be looked at closely for the RB spot. I am equally as concerned for the LB spot though. I love DB playing against CONCACAF but the WC? Not so much. I like Fabian Johnson at the LMF however so that causes an issue. Hmmmm. Steve, help me out on that one.

  8. elgallo2001 - Feb 4, 2014 at 4:48 PM

    Geoff has looked awesome at Stoke. I’m stoked to see him start at RB in the upcoming friendlies. I know JK is watching his games at Stoke, I don’t think he can deny that this guy is wining the RB spot.

  9. el timo - Feb 4, 2014 at 9:44 PM

    The scary thing is that Cameron is playing so much better now than any of his USMNT peers at CB or LB or LMF for that matter. But he can only play one position, so it makes sense to lock him in at RB because having him there with Zusi in front of him and Donovan in front of Zusi and Bradley helping up the middle gives you the one sure combination you can see stopping runs and countering against the Group of Death. The real issue is who’s on the left side, because that’s where these games will be played. JK, help me out on that one.

    • bear06 - Feb 6, 2014 at 12:27 AM

      Cameron is not a LB or a LMF. F. Johnson has helped the offense a lot when he’s been at LM but he may need to go back at LB.

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