Cameron, Edu reunite at Stoke City; questions for Bocanegra, Dempsey
When Geoff Cameron and Maurice Edu were last spotted together on a soccer field, they were a key part of the United States' first win on Mexican soil, teaming in central defense to frustrate the likes of Javier Hernandez while holding down the fort in front of the stellar Tim Howard in the U.S. men's national team's 1-0 victory.
A couple of weeks later, Tony Pulis and the technical staff at Stoke City are putting their faith in the two of them helping the Potters to new heights as well, albeit from different places on the field. Cameron's seamless transition to Stoke's lineup just two days after arriving in England coupled with Edu's transfer from embattled Scottish club Rangers to Stoke has turned the eyes of U.S. soccer fans onto Staffordshire and Britannia Stadium, where the two begin cultivating a new American fanbase in the English Premier League.
Cameron looked right at home in central midfield against Arsenal in his debut, drawing rave reviews from Pulis, who is a believer that his stout play in MLS can translate to England's top tier.
"(Cameron) did exceptionally well in the circumstances, but we played three matches out in the States recently and we were very impressed with the standard of football," Pulis told Stoke's official website after Cameron's debut. "There is certainly a market out there."
Edu, once an MLS product himself, will join the club once all of his paperwork is completed and is expected to compete for time with Cameron, Dean Whitehead, Glenn Whelan and Honduran international Wilson Palacios at the same position. From a purely playing-time point of view, Stoke might not be the most ideal landing spot for Edu, but it is an escape from fourth-tier anonymity, and Pulis did refer to the versatility of both players upon their signings. The club's first-choice center back tandem of Ryan Shawcross and Robert Huth seem pretty set in their roles, and veteran English defender Matthew Upson is an option there as well, but considering how well Cameron and Edu did for themselves against Mexico, Pulis would be wise to consider them also.
While Cameron and Edu have their club futures set with Friday's transfer deadline for most European countries rapidly approaching, two of the pillars for the U.S. men's national team still have major question marks next to their situations. Clint Dempsey continues to be frozen out at Fulham as the rumors swirl about his season ahead, and he has no leverage with him still being under contract while no satisfactory offers have come Fulham's way amid speculation tying him to Liverpool, Arsenal and even Sunderland. Carlos Bocanegra, meanwhile, continues to play for Rangers despite the club's low standing. With Edu and Alejandro Bedoya wisely leaving Rangers for top-flight opportunities, is Captain America really going to stay in the fourth tier of Scottish soccer in this most-important year of World Cup qualifying? It would be hard to fathom, and he could very well be on the move as well despite a rather dormant market for his services.
Another high-profile American likely to be on the move is Oguchi Onyewu, who is far from the given for Sporting Lisbon's first team that he was a season. After a rough national team showing in May and June, Onyewu is still trying to fight his way back onto Jurgen Klinsmann's radar, but his being left off Sporting Lisbon's teamsheet again on Monday adds credence and rationale to the Portuguese reports linking him to clubs in Spain and France. That the lumbering center back was sending non-game-related tweets during Sporting Lisbon's match on Monday is a further indication of someone who will not be staying put much longer.
Even though the big-name American transfers are snagging the headlines, important developments on the field involving Americans also took place this past week. Michael Bradley's AS Roma debut was an individual success, with Bradley going the distance and assisting on a late equalizer to help the club to a season-opening draw. Robbie Rogers was loaned from Leeds United to League One side Stevenage, where he made his debut under former Colorado Rapids coach Gary Smith. In Norway, speedy youngster Josh Gatt's career-high sixth goal of the season helped Molde reclaim first place as the club attempts to win consecutive titles. Those were some of the highlights of the week that was, and here is how the Americans playing abroad fared altogether (season statistics encompass all competitions):
Timmy Chandler, D, FC Nurnberg - Started, played 90 minutes in Nurnberg's 1-0 victory over Hamburg on Saturday.
John Anthony Brooks, D, Hertha Berlin - Not in the 18 for Berlin's 2-1 victory over Jahn Regensburg on Friday.
Michael Bradley, M, AS Roma - Started, played 90 minutes, picked up a yellow card and assisted on the late equalizer in Roma's 2-2 draw with Catania on Sunday. Bradley lobbed an accurate ball into the area for Nicolas Lopez, who volleyed it to himself before leveling the score from close range in stoppage time.