In this Postmortem series we'll be examining each player on the USA's 23-man roster and how they performed during the Copa America and what's next for them heading into the conclusion of World Cup qualifying.
For a long time, the center back pairing for the USMNT was a mystery. Each game seemingly showed us a different duo than the last. However, a majority of fans felt the most comfortable with Geoff Cameron on the back line. Jurgen finally found a combination he liked, and one that would get results as well. Cameron gave us a physical yet smart defender we could feel comfortable with in locking down the back line. He is the rock that Klinsmann needed and he played every minute of all six matches of this tournament for him.
Games Played: 6
Minutes Played: 540
Of all the center backs on the roster, Geoff Cameron has the most experience from his club situation. He has been starting games against quality competition of the EPL for several years. That allowed Cameron to play against the likes of Argentina without getting phased. We always seem to look at potential for most of the other options, he gives the U.S. a proven commodity at the back.
Geoff is a savvy defender and he had himself in a good position throughout the majority of the Copa. He is a leader on the back line and did very well in keeping everyone organized. With all the cards and so many of his teammates losing their cool, he led a defense that held strong in tough situations. Moreover, he brought a level head and managed to avoid getting cautioned a single time throughout the whole tournament. But Cameron was still a big, physical presence who didn't shy away from any contact. If he was unable to get to the ball, he'd make sure to get his body on the player just enough to cause a disruption.
In addition to anchoring the back line, Cameron can be a threat on the other side of the field as well. He provided a target for set pieces and logged two shots, plus created two shots for teammates as well.
While Geoff performed very well, the USMNT still only went 3-3 throughout the Copa. The back line was beaten plenty, albeit by two quality sides in Argentina and Colombia (twice). But the goal of this team is to hang with the best countries in the world. Cameron is a physical presence, but he lacks a bit of mobility to truly be elite. He really struggles in tight spaces with quick opposition. Like an elephant trying to mark a mouse. At times it is too easy to get space against him on set pieces. That proved true only eight minutes into the tournament when Colombia scored their first goal. Cameron's man, Zapata, flashed from the far post towards the ball and was wide open for his one timed finish. That was probably Geoff's worst moment of the Copa and he was able to avoid getting beat that badly the rest of the tournament.
Copa Grade - B+
The USMNT did well this tournament and Cameron is due a good amount of credit for his work on the back line. He was in the trenches for every single minute. But this team simply never had a shot against Argentina and they gave Colombia too many chances in both matches. His back line was sliced apart with a single pass too many times.
But the bottom line is that I really can't imagine where this squad would have been without the guy.