Whether out of necessity or a desire to mix things up, Houston Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear rolled the dice against the New England Revolution, moving Geoff Cameron back into central defense. Though the team still ended up on the losing end, Houston’s overall performance improved somewhat as Cameron played well out of the back.
“I thought he did OK,” Kinnear said. “He looked comfortable back there and stepped into the play and read some balls like he did last year, so, all in all, he had a good night.”
WATCH HIGHLIGHTS: NE 1, HOU 0
Cameron played most of last season as a central defender and was impressive enough there to earn MLS Best XI honors. However, following the departure of Stuart Holden and Ricardo Clark during the offseason, Kinnear moved Cameron into the midfield, where he again prospered until a knee injury threatened to end his season early.
The 25-year-old returned to the field on August 5 and has since rejoined the back line.
Cameron’s teammate in the center of defense on Saturday, Bobby Boswell, was happy to have his old partner back. The two seemed to feed off of each other with each taking chances to jump forward looking for an interception.
“Geoff is a guy that is great to be on the field, whether in the back or in the middle,” Boswell said. “I am glad he’s healthy. He’s an All-Star caliber player and will be on the national team in the future. I am glad to have him in the back or in front of me or on the side, as he can play anywhere.”
Defensively, Houston put in a good showing thanks in part to the improved play of their midfield. However, the Revs' offense is not one of the most potent in the league, as only D.C. United and Kansas City have scored fewer goals this year.
“The defense did a great job winning every aerial ball that came in, and they couldn’t outfight us,” Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall said. “Geoff is a great player, and having him on the field is a big boost no matter where he plays. I liked having him back there, as he worked hard, is smart, and always willing to work things out if we have a difference of vision.”
Though Hall jokingly retracted the "smart" comment after a ribbing from Boswell, the confidence Cameron’s teammates have in him is apparent. Also apparent was the ability of both Cameron and Richard Mulrooney to distribute the ball out of the back, something with which Houston has struggled this year.
With Ryan Cochrane and Adrian Serioux possibly returning from injury and Mike Chabala returning from suspension, Kinnear will have some tough decisions ahead with how best to utilize Cameron. Cameron himself, though, said he felt comfortable again back in the center of defense.
“I’ll play wherever I can play,” Cameron said. “It was good, though -- Bobby and I partnering again. It’s one of those things to get accustomed to, and it was good to get 90 minutes under my belt.”
Dwain Capodice is a contributor to MLSsoccer.com. Questions or Comments can be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.